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JOURNAL 

f 

OF A VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY OF A 

NORTH-WEST PASSAGE 

FROM THE ATLANTIC TO THE PACIFIC; 

PERFORMED IN THE YEARS 1819—20, 
IN HIS MAJESTY'S SHIPS 

HECLA AND GRIPER, 

UNDER THE ORDERS OF 

SVC WILLIAM EDWARD PARRY, R.N., F.R.S., 

AND COMMANDER OF THE EXPEDITION. 



WITH AN APPENDIX, CONTAINING THE SCIENTIFIC 
AND OTHER OBSERVATIONS. 



PUBLISHED BY AUTHORITY OF THE LORDS COMMISSIONERS 
OF THE ADMIRALTY. 



LONDON 



JOHN MURRAY, 

PUBLISHER TO THE ADMIRALTY, AND BOARD OF LONGITUDE 



MDCCCXXI. 



JOURNAL 

? 

OF A VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY OF A 

NORTH-WEST PASSAGE 

FROM THE ATLANTIC TO THE PACIFIC: 



PERFORMED IN THE YEARS 1819—20, 

IN HIS MAJESTY'S SHIPS 

S 

HECLA AND GRIPER, 

UNDER THE ORDERS OF 

S^f WILLIAM EDWARD PARRY, R.N., F.R.S. 

AyO COMMANDER OF THE EXPEDITION. 



WITH AN APPENDIX, CONTAINING THE SCIENTIFIC 
AND OTHER OBSERVATIONS. 



PUBLISHED BY AUTHORITY OF THE LORDS COMMISSIONERS 
OF THE ADMIRALTY. 



LONDON 



JOHN MURRAY, 

PUBLISHER TO THE ADMIRALTY, AND BOARD OF LONGITUDE 

MDCCCXXI. 



3' 



^\^ 



\^> 



^373 



LONDON : 

PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES, 

Xorthuuiberland-court. 









To 
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE 

LORD VISCOUNT MELVILLE, 

'""hIg'h ADMrr'n';'""*^^ ™" KXECUTING THE OFFICE OP LORD 
HIGH ADMIRAL OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND, 4c. .tc 4c 

THIS VOLUME, 



CONTAINING 



THE JOURNAL OF A VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE 

FROM THE ATLANTIC TO THE PACIFIC, 

UNDERTAKEN AND EXECUTED UNDER THE AUSPICES OP HIS LORDSHIP. 

IS INSCRIBED, 

WITH DUE RESPECT AND GRATITUDE, 

BY HIS OBLIGED AND FAITHFUL SERVANT. 

WILLIAM EDWARD PARRY. 



London, May, 1821. 



CONTENTS. 



Introduction 
Official Instructions 



CHAPTER I. 



Passage across the Atlantic — Enter Davis* Strait — Unsuccessful attempt to penetrate the ice 
to the Western Coast — Voyage up the Strait — Passage through the Ice to the Western 
Coast — Arrival off Possession Bay, on the Southern side of the entrance into Sir James 
Lancaster's Sound ......... 1 

CHAPTER II. 

Entrance into Sir James Lancaster's Sound of Baffin— Uninterrupted Passage to the Westward 
—Discovery and Examination of Prince Regent's Inlet — Progress to the Southward 
stopped by Ice — Return to the Northward — Pass Barrow's Strait — and enter the Polar 
Sea ........... 29 

CHAPTER III. 

Favourable appearances of an Open Westerly Passage — Land to the Northward, a Series ol 
Islands — General Appearance of them — Meet with some obstruction from low Islands sur- 
rounded with Ice — Remains of Esquimaux Huts, and Natural Productions of Byam 
Martin Island — Tedious Navigation from Fogs and Ice — Difficulty of Steering a Proper 
Course — Arrival and Landing on Melville Island — Proceed to the Westward, and reach 
the Meridian of 110° W. Longitude, the First Stage in the Scale of Rewards granted by 
Act of Parliament . . . . . , . . .53 

CHAPTER IV. 

Further Examination of Melville Island — Continuation of our Progress to the Westward — Long 
Detention by the Ice— Party sent on Shore to hunt Deer and Musk-Oxen— Return in 
Three Days, after losing their way — Anxiety on their account-^Proceed to the Westward, 
till finally stopped by the Ice — In returning to the Eastward the Griper forced on the 
beach by the Ice — Search for, and discovery of, a Winter Harbour on Melville Island — 
Operations for securing the Ships in their Winter Quarters . . . .75 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER V. 

PAGE 

Precautions for securing the Ships and Stores — for promoting Good Order, Cleanliness, 
Health, and Good-humour, among the Ships' Companies — Establishment of a Theatre, 
and of the North Georgia Gazette — Erection of an Observatory on Shore — Commence our 
Winter's Amusements — State of the Temperature and various Meteorological Phenomena 
— Miscellaneous Occurrences to the close of the Year 1819 .... 101 

CHAPTER VI. 

First Appearance of Scurvy — The Aurora Borealis and other Meteorological Phenomena — 
Visits of the Wolves — Re-appearance of the Sun — Extreme low Temperature — Destruc- 
tion of the House on Shore by Fire — Severe Frost-bites occasioned by this Accident . 131 

CHAPTER Vn. 

More temperate Weather — House re-built — Quantity of Ice collected on the Hecla's lower 
Deck — Meteorological Phenomena — Conclusion of Theatrical Entertainments — Increased 
Sickness on board the Griper — Clothes first dried in the open Air — Remarkable Halos 
and Parhelia — Snow-Blindness — Cutting the Ice round the Ships, and other Occurrences 
to the Close of May . . . . . . . . .151 

CHAPTER Vni. 

Journey across Melville Island to the Northern Shore, and Return to the Ships by a different 

Route . . . . . . . . . . .181 

CHAPTER IX. 

Occurrences at Winter Harbour in the early Part of Jhine^Gradual Dissolution of the Ice upon 
the Sea, and of the Snow upon the Land — Hunting Parties sent out to procure Game — 
Decease and Burial of William Scott — Equipment of the Ships completed — Temperate 
Weather during the Month of July — Breaking up of the Ice near the Ships — Move to the 
lower Part of the Harbour — Separation of the Ice at the Entrance — Prepare to sail — 
Abstract of Observations made in Winter Harbour . . . . . 206 

CHAPTER X. 

Leave Winter Harbour — Flattering appearance of the Sea to the Westward — Stopped by the 
Ice near Cape Hay — Further Progress to the Longitude of 113° 48' 22". 5, being the 
Westernmost Meridian hitherto reached in the Polar Sea, to the North of America — Banks's 
Land Discovered — Increased extent and dimensions of the Ice — Return to the East- 
ward, to endeavour to penetrate the Ice to the Southward — Discovery of several Islands — 
Re-enter Barrow's Strait, and survey its South Coast — Pass through Sir James Lan- 
caster's Sound, on our Return to England ...... 228 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XL 

PAGE 

Progress down the Western Coast of Baffin's Bay — Meet with tlie Whalers — Account of some 
Esquimaux in the Inlet called the River Clyde — Continue the survey of the Coast, till 
stopped by Ice in the Latitude of 68|° — Obliged to run to the Eastward — Fruitless 
attempts to regain the land, and final Departure from the Ice — Remarks upon the pro- 
bable existence and practicability of a Nopth-West Passage, and upon the Whale- 
Fishery — Boisterous Weather in crossing the Atlantic — Loss of the Hecla's Bowsprit and 
Foremast — Arrival in England. . . , . , . . .271 



APPENDIX. 



I. An Account of the going of the Chronometers of the Hecla and Griper 

II. Lunar Observations ........ 

III. Observations to determine the Latitude and the Longitude by Chronometers 

IV. Abstract of Observations on the Dip of the Horizon at Sea, with Doctor Woliaston 

Dip Sector, in 1819 and 1820 ...... 

V. Magnetic Observations . . . 
V'l. Table of Days' Works kept on board the Hecla 

VII. Tide Table in Winter Harbour, Melville Island . .... 

VIII. An Account of Experiments to determine the Acceleration of the Pendulum in dif 

ferent Latitudes ........ 

IX. Remarks on the State of Health and Disease on board the Hecla and Griper 



XXI 

Ixi 



cxliii 
civ 



clxi 
clxvii 



LIST OP THE PLATES. 



A I- 
II. 
III. 

, IV. 

V. 
, VI. 

VII. 

VIII. 
._ IX. 

X. 

XI. 
. XII. 
, XIII. 
, XIV. 

i-xv. 

XVI. 
XVII. 
XVIII. 
XIX. 
XX. 



General Polar Chart, shewing the Track, S^c. — to face 

Situation of H. M. Ships Hecla and Griper, July 4th, 1819 

Iceberg in Baffin's Bay, July, 1819 . 

Chart of the Discoveries, 4"c. ^c. 

Headlands, ^c, commencing with Cape Bathurst 

Ditto Cape Warrender 

Burnet Inlet •■.... 
Headlands, ^c, commencing with Hobhouse Inlet 

I^'tto Prince Leopold's Islands 

Chart of Port Bowen ..... 

Headlands, Sfc, commencing with Cape Cockburn 

Situation of the Hecla and Griper, September 20th, 1819 

Cutting into Winter Harbour 

Hecla and Griper in Winter Harbour 

Chart of Winter Harbour .... 

Situation of the Hecla and Griper, 17th to 23d of August, 1820 

Mnsk-Ox ....._ 

Chart of a Part of the Western Coast of Baffin's Bay 

Esquimaux of the Inlet called the River Clyde 

Chart of the River Clyde .... 



Title Page. 
. II 
. 17 
. 29 
. 31 
. 32 
. 34 
. 35 
. 36 
. 44 
. 58 
. 92 
. 97 
. 122 
. 226 
. 254 
. 257 
. 271 
. 282 
. 288 



The following; Errata occur in the Noon Longitudes in the Nar- 
native, in consequence of having inadvertently inserted those 
by Chronometer No. 2i8, instead of those by the mean of the 
whole number' employed. 

Page 4, line <l, fromthcbottora,./;-!- 25 11 51 rearl Vi 10 51) 

— 7,— 7, . — 48 0150 — 48 09 42 

— 7, — 2, from the bottom, — 01 32 49 — 61 38 25 

— 8,— 8 — 8134 28 — 6139 53 

— 8, — 4, from the bottom, — fit 42 5S — 61 48 07 

— II, — 9, do. do. — 56 47 56 — 57 07 56 

— 12,— 9 — 57 46 26 — 57 5113 

— 12, — 4, troni the bottom, — 57 00 43 — 57 05 54 

— 13,— 5, —57 22 57 — 57.27 25 

— 13,-20, — 58 10 30 — 53 14 55 

— 14, — 4, from the botiom, — 57 33 56 — 57 37 40 

— 15, — 7 — 59 II 53 — 50 14 57 

— 16, — 3, — 59 46 18 — 59 43 04 

— 17,-10 — 59 03 54 — 59 05 39 

— 18,— 6, — 53 42 11 — 58 43 57 

— 19, — 12 — 60 09 07 — 60 11 30 

— 19, — 4, from the bottom, — 60 07 54 — GO 03 40 

— 20, — 7, do. do. — 60 U 52 — 60 II 58 

— 21, — 6, do. do. — 00 24 27 — 60 22 27 

— 24, — 7, — 75 02 14 — 74 59 58 



A Supplement to the Appendix, containing the Zoology, 
Botany, Geology, ^c, of the Arctic Regions, will be published 



on the \st of June. 



INTRODUCTION. 



His Majesty's Government having determined on the equipment 
of an Expedition to attempt the Discovery of a North-West Pas- 
sage into the Pacific, the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty were 
pleased to honour me with the command ; and my Commission for His 
Majesty's ship the Hecla, was dated the 16th of January, 1819. I 
arrived in London on the 20th, and commissioned the Hecla at 
Deptford on the following day. The second vessel appointed for this 
service was the Griper, gun-brig ; she was commissioned by Lieute- 
nant Matthew Liddon, who was directed to put himself under my 
orders, on the 29th of January. 

The Hecla was a bomb, of three hundred and seventy-five tores, 
built in a merchant's yard at Hull, in the year 1815, of large scant- 
ling, and having a capacious hold, which made her peculiarly fit for 
this service. The Griper was originally a gun-brig, of one hundred 
and eighty tons ; and it was proposed by the Navy Board to raise upon 
her a deck of six feet, so as to increase her stowage as much as pos- 
sible. Both ships had been taken into dock about the middle of 
December, in order to undergo a thorough repair, and to receive 
every strengthening which the nature of the service demanded. 



INTRODUCTION. 



The number of individuals employed on this service, amounted to 
ninety-four ; their distribution on board each ship will be seen in the 
following table. 



A TABLE shewing the Officers, Seamen, Marines, SfC, embarked on board His Majesty's Ships 

Hecla and Griper. 



KANK. 



ON BOARD THE HECLA. 



Officers' Names. 



No. of 
Rank 



ON BOARD THE GRIPER. 



Officers' Names. each 

Rank 



Lieutenant and Commander 
Astronomer . . . . . 

Lieutenant 

Surgeon 

Purser 

Assistant Surgeon ... 



Midshipmen 



Clerk 

Gunner .... 
Boatswain . . . 
Carpenter . . . 
Greenland Master . 
Greenland Mate . 

Cook 

Leading Men . . 
Quarter-master 
Gunner's-mate . . 
Boatswain's-mate . 
Carpenter' s-mate . 
Armourer' s-mate . 
Sailmaker . . . 
Able Seamen . . 
Serjeant of Marines 
Privates of ditto . 
Serjeant of Artillery 
Private of ditto 



William Edward Parry 
Capt. Edward Sabine, R. A. 
Frederick William Beechey 
John Edwards ..... 
William Harvey Hooper 
Alexander Fisher .... 
■Joseph Nias . . 
William J. Dealey 
Charles Palmer . 
James Clarke Ross 
.John Bushnan 
James Halse . . 
James Scallon . . 
Jacob Swansea . . 
William Wallis . 
John Allison • . 
George Crawford . 



Accompanying Capt. Sabine 



Total 58 



Matthew Liddon . . , 
Henry Parkyns Hoppner 

Charles James Beverly . 

Andrew Reid .... 
A. M. Skene . . . . 
William Nelson Griffiths 

Cyrus Wakeham . . . 



George Fife 
Alexander Elder 



Corporal of Marines 



Total 



INTRODUCTION. Ill 

As an encouragement to the oificers, seamen, and marines, who 
were desirous of being employed on this service, the Lords Commis- 
sioners of the Admiralty were pleased to grant to every individual 
engaged in the Expedition, double the ordinary pay of His Majesty's 
Navy. The ships were speedily manned with a full complement of 
excellent seamen ; nearly the whole of those who had served on the 
former Expedition having again volunteered tlieir services, besides 
numerous others who were anxious to be employed on this occasion. 

The mode of fortifying or strengthening the ships was principally the 
same as that adopted on board the Isabella and Alexander in 1818 *. 
The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty were pleased to direct 
the Navy and Victualling Boards to furnish every thing which the 
experience of the former voyage had suggested as necessary, and 
during the whole progress of our fitting, I received the greatest 
attention and assistance from those Boards, who most readily com- 
plied with every wish expressed by me for the more complete 
equipment of the ships. 

The mode of rigging the vessels was that of a barque, as 
being the most convenient among the ice, and requiring the 
smallest number of men to work them ; a consideration of no 
little importance, where it was a material object to sail with 
as few persons as possible, in order to extend our resources 
to the utmost. The Hecla's mizen-topsail was, therefore, taken 
away, and the mizen-mast, top-mast, gaff, and driver-boom length- 
ened, so as to make up, by a large driver and gaflF-topsail, nearly the 
same quantity of after-sail as before ; the foremast and mainmast 
remaining the same as on the former establishment. By this al- 
* See the Narrative of the former Voyage. 



IV INTRODUCTIOK. 

teration we were enabled to put the ship's company into three 
watches, a regulation which is well known to tend very es- 
sentially to the health and comfort of seamen, while it serves 
also the important purpose of teaching them their own strength, 
and increasing their activity on occasions requiring more than 
ordinary exertion. 

The ships were completely furnished with provisions and stores 
for a period of two years ; in addition to which, a large supply of 
fresh meats and soups, preserved in tin cases, by Messrs. Donkin and 
Gamble, of Burkitt's essence of malt and hops, and of the essence 
of spruce, was also put on board, besides a number of other extra 
stores adapted to cold climates and a long voyage. The anti- 
scorbutics consisted of lemon-juice (which forms a part of the daily 
rations on board His Majesty's ships), vinegar, sour-krout, pickles, 
and herbs ; and the whole of the provisions, which were of the 
very best quality, were stowed in tight casks, to preserve theni 
from moisture or other injury. As a matter of experiment, a small 
quantity of vinegar, in a highly- concentrated state, recommended 
and prepared by Doctor Bollman, was also put on board, and 
was found of essential service, the greater part of the com- 
mon kind being destroyed by the severity of the frost. In order 
to save stowage, only a small proportion of biscuit was received ; 
flour, which had been previously kiln-dried with great care, being 
substituted in its place. For the purpose of baking for the daily con- 
sumption of the crews during the winter months, a portable oven was 
furnished to the Hecla ; and after a good leaven had been once 
obtained, we found no difficulty in baking light and wholesome bread, 
even in the severest part of the season. The ships were ballasted 



INTRODUCTION. .Y 

entirely with coals, (of which the Hecla stowed seventy, and t||e 
Griper thirty-four chaldrons), together with such a quantity of fire- 
wood as was necessary for the stowage of the casks in the holds. 

To add to our warmth, and to keep out the snow during the winter, 
a housing-cloth was prepared of the same materials as that with 
which waggons are usually covered, and which being laid on planks, 
supported amidships by spars lashed fore and aft between the masts, 
and resting with their lower ends on the gunwale, completely answered 
the purpose for which it was intended. 

Care was taken to provide abundance of warm clothing, 
and one suit of the best quality was liberally furnished for 
each man employed in the Expedition, to be served gratis at my 
discretion. Among the numerous articles of this kind which con- 
tributed essentially to our comfort, a wolf-skin blanket was supplied 
for each officer and man, which, in addition to those of the common 
sort, effectually kept the people warm in their beds, although from 
the necessary economy in fuel, the temperature of the decks was 
frequently much below the freezing point during the nights. 

To be prepared against the chances of meeting with any natives in the 
countries which we were about to visit, the ships were directed to be 
furnished with a large quantity of various kinds of presents, both to se- 
cure their friendship, and to purchase any supplies of which we might 
stand in need. In short, nothing was omitted which could in any 
degree tend to the success of the enterprise, or to the health, con- 
venience, and comfort of those engaged in it. I feel myself par- 
ticularly indebted to the kindness of Commissioner Cunningham, 
and the officers employed under him in the different departments 



VI INTRODUCTION. 

of the dock-yard at Deptford, in complying with, and even anti- 
cipating, my wishes for the promotion of these objects. My thanks 
are also due, in an especial manner to my friend Captain Henry 
Garrett, agent victualler at that port, whose ready attention to all 
our wants in his public department, could only be equalled by the 
warm hospitality we experienced from him during the time of our 
equipment. 

While care was thus taken that nothing should be wanting to ensure 
the success of the Expedition in its main object, the improvement of 
geography and navigation, as well as the general jnterests of science, 
were considered as of scarcely less importance. For this purpose, a 
number of valuable instruments, (of which a list is subjoined), were 
furnished to each ship ; and Captain Sabine, of the Royal Artillery, who 
was recommended by the President and Council of the Royal Society, 
was embarked on board the Hecla, as Astronomer to the Expedition. 

Previously to our leaving Deptford, the ships were visited by 
Viscount Melville, who presided at the Admiralty, as well as by 
several of the Lords Commissioners, and by the Comptroller of the 
Navy, who were pleased to express their satisfaction at the manner in 
which their directions and intentions had been complied with in the 
general equipment of the Expedition. On the 2d of May, I repaired 
to the Admiralty, to receive their Lordships' final Instructions for the 
conduct of the Expedition, a copy of which immediately precedes the 
Narrative. 



INTRODUCTION. VII 

List of the Instruments^ ^c. embarked on board each of the two Ships. 

Those marked with an Asterisk were furnished to the Hecla only. 

* 2 Astronomical Clocks, with stands. 

11 Chronometers on board the Hecla, and four on board the 
Griper. 

* 1 Transit instrument. 

* 1 Portable observatory. 

* 1 Repeating circle. 

1 Dipping-needle. * A second ditto, the property of Henry 
Browne, esq. 

* 1 Instrument for magnetic force, on Captain Kater's improved 

construction. 

* 1 Variation transit. 

* 1 Variation needle. 

4 Azimuth compasses, on Captain Kater's improved construction. 

1 Dip-sector, invented by Dr. Wollaston. 

2 Mountain barometers. 
2 Marine ditto. 

2 Altitude instruments, invented by Captain Kater. 
i Theodolite. 

2 Anglometers. 

1 Circular protractor. 

3 Artificial horizons. 
1 Hydrometer. 

1 Water-bottle, invented by Dr. Marcet. 
10 Thermometers. 

* 4f Self-registering ditto, (Sixe's), with iron cases for fastening to 

the deep-sea lead. 

* 2 Electrometers, with chains. 

Together with a complete set of drawing instruments, scales, beam- 
compasses, <^c. for the construction of charts. 



Viil INTRODUCTION. 

'f?5' On our return to England, in the beginning of November, 1820, 
all the journals, logs, charts, and drawings, which had been furnished 
by every individual belonging to the Expedition, were delivered to the 
Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, to be at their disposal; and 
their Lordships were pleased immediately to direct them to be returned 
into my hands, for the purpose of preparing for publication, under 
their authority, an official account of the voyage. 

In performing this duty, it has been my earnest endeavour equally 
to avoid, on the one hand, a too minute and tedious detail of occur- 
rences, which, as the materials for a future account, properly form a 
part of a manuscript journal, but which, if given in their original 
form, would only serve to tire by their repetition ; and on the other, 
to omit nothing which came under my notice,' and that may be con- 
sidered interesting, either by the scientific or the general reader. It 

;>^*feaving been suggested to me that both these purposes would be best 
answered by throwing into an Appendix the whole of the matter 
which relates exclusively to geography, natural history, and the details 
of scientific observations, this method has been adopted ; except in 
a few cases, in which it was considered expedient, for elucidating the 
subject under consideration, to introduce a brief notice of them into 
the body of the work, without occasioning any material interruption 
in the Narrative. 

The following account of the proceedings of the Expedition is taken 
principally from the official Journal kept by myself on board the 
Hecla, and always written within twenty-four hours after the occur- 
rence of the events recorded in it. In several instances, however, 
I have been happy to avail myself of the journals or reports furnished 
by the other officers, in all which cases the obligation is acknowledged 



INTRODUCTION. IX 

by inverted commas, and by personally mentioning the individual 
who supplied the account. 

The various observations made on board the Hecla during the 
voyage, have been carefully collected into tables on the model of 
those of Wales and Bayly, by Captain Sabine, to whom I am in- 
debted for the arrangement of nearly the whole of the Appendix, 
and for the superintendence of that part of the work during its 
progress through the press. I feel it no less a duty than a pleasure 
to acknowledge that, in the performance of this task, Captain Sabine 
has added another to the many obligations I owe him, for his va- 
luable advice and assistance during the whole course of this voyage, 
to the credit of which his individual labours have so essentially 
contributed. Of the manner in which the subject of natural his- 
tory, contained in the Appendix, has been treated by those gen- 
tlemen who did me the favour to undertake the examination and 
description of the specimens brought home by the Expedition, it 
does not become me to speak; but I may be permitted to offer 
them my best acknowledgments for the very handsome and ready 
manner in which they rendered me their assistance on this oc- 
casion. 

The Drawings made by Lieutenants Beechey and Hoppner were put 
into the hands of skilful engravers, soon after the arrival of the ships 
in the River, such of them being selected for publication as were 
considered most likely to afford interest or entertainment. It must 
be confessed, however, that there is little in the scenery of the Polar 
regions on which the art of the painter can be exercised with ad- 
vantage ; and the opportunities were necessarily the less frequent 
on the late voyage, in consequence of the length of time which we 



X INTRODUCTION. 

were confined to one spot. Of the merit of the drawings made by 
Lieutenants Beechey and Hoppner, I am not a competent judge, 
further than as regards the accuracy and faithfulness of the delineation ; 
and to this I am anxious to bear the most unqualified testimony, 
no less than to the zeal and industry displayed by these gentlemen* 
whenever opportunities offered of performing this branch of their, 
duty, in compliance with their Lordships' Instructions on that 
head. 

The Charts contained in this volume, comprising surveys of every 
coast visited by the Expedition during the voyage, are reduced 
from those drawn on board the Hecla under my immediate in- 
spection, by Mr. Bushnan, Midshipman of that ship, a gentleman 
well skilled in the construction of charts, and in the art of marine 
surveying. The original charts are lodged in the Hydrographical 
Office of the Admiralty, together with a detailed account of all 
the angles and other materials used in their construction. As it 
was known that no reliance could be placed on the compasses from 
the spot where our discoveries commenced (namely, from the 
entrance of Sir James Lancaster's Sound, westward), it was deter- 
mined, from the first, altogether to reject magnetic bearings in 
the construction of the charts, using only those deduced astrono- 
mically from the sun's altitude and azimuth, together with its angular 
distance from the object whose true bearing was required. Astro- 
nomical bearings were always thus obtained at the same time with 
observations for latitude and longitude. Whenever it was considered 
expedient to take them at other times, the log was of necessity re- 
sorted to, in order to obtain the ship's place from the nearest 
observation; and when this time happened to fall nearly midway 



INTRODUCTION. Xf 

between two observations, the mean of the reckoning, worked 
backwards and forwards, was taken, to fix the ship's place. In the 
selection of angles for the construction of the charts, those have, for 
obvious reasons, been preferred, which were most easterly or westerly, 
when an observation for latitude was made ; and those which were 
most northerly or southerly, at the time of an actual observation 
for determining the longitude. When angles only were taken, that 
is, when the sun was obscured so as to prevent the possibility of ob- 
taining his altitude and azimuth, the angles were used by laying them 
off from one or more points, whose geographical position had been 
previously fixed ; and by this means, in many instances, the former 
angles have been found to correspond and intersect accurately, when 
there would otherwise have been considerable doubt as to the exact 
place of the ship. The observations for latitude and longitude have 
been seldom or never made by less than two, and frequently by 
three or four, observers, and a mean of these used in the con- 
struction of the chart. The observers were generally Captain 
Sabine, Lieutenant Beechey, Mr. Hooper, and myself; the angles 
were taken with a sextant; sometimes by myself, and sometimes by 
Lieutenant Beechey, to whose skill and industry in this depart- 
ment of my duty, I am happy to acknowledge myself very materially 
indebted. 

A detailed account having been given by Captain Sabine in the 
Appendix, of the chronometers used in obtaining the longitudes for 
the survey, and of the mode of correcting their rates, it is unne- 
cessary for me to add any thing on that subject, the care which has 
been bestowed upon them being sufficiently apparent on an inspection 
of the tables. In the daily winding of the chronometers, Captain 



Xil INTRODUCTION. 

Sabine was assisted by Mr. Hooper, purser of the Hecla, a gentleman 
to whose zeal and exertions, during a period of three years that 
we have been employed together on this service, I am more indebted 
than I can adequately express. By those who have been accustomed 
to the charge of chronometers for any length of time, and who 
know the weight and importance of that charge, it will be considered 
as deserving no small credit on the part of these gentlemen, that, for 
a period of nearly twenty months, during which, eleven chronometers 
were on board the Hecla, only two instances occurred of a single; 
chronometer being suffered to go down by neglect. >..p. VT 

The observations for the variation of the magnetic needle, made on 
board the ships, have been altogether omitted in the course of the 
narrative ; because, until a correction for the effects of local attraction 
has been applied, they give little or no information as to the true 
amount ; the whole, therefore, have been referred to the Appendix, 
in the order in which they were taken. A number of these, obtained 
for the express purpose of ascertaining the amount of the ship's 
attraction upon the needle, with her head placed in different di- 
rections, and when the dip and true variation were known, will be 
found useful, perhaps, towards establishing some general formula for 
the correction of those errors at sea. Such a formula, however, is 
the less important from the facility with which the amount of this 
irregularity may at almost any time be found, when the sun is visible, 
by taking azimuths on a north and south magnetic course, in order to 
obtain the true variation, and then upon any other required direction 
of the ship's head. For the purposes of navigation, indeed, it is 
generally necessary only to ascertain the variation to be allowed on 
one or more courses, without regard to the true amount. This is par- 



INTRODUCTION. XIU 

ticularly the case when magnetic bearings are made use of in the 
construction of a chart, a mode of surveying which, of course, 
will only be resorted to when absolutely necessary. In such cases, 
it will be proper to observe the variation of the needle upon the 
same course as that on which the bearings are taken ; by this means 
a degree of correctness may be attained, which would be little 
expected by those who are unaccustomed to adopt this precautiouj^ 
and most of those errors avoided, which it has been usual to attri-fi 
bute to a defect in the compasses. 

To avoid unnecessary repetition in the course of the following 
Narrative, it must be remarked that all the bearings are the true ones, 
unless otherwise expressly noticed ; and the whole of the latitudes are 
North, and the longitudes West from the meridian of Greenwich. The 
temperatures were registered entirely by Fahrenheit's thermometer, 
and it may be necessary to inform the general reader, that the 
signs + and — preceding any number of degrees, signify above or 
below zero of that scale. .; 

The temperature of the sea at different depths was obtained, unless 
otherwise noticed, by Sixe's self-registering thermometer, confined 
in an iron case, and attached to the deep-sea lead. The bottle used 
for bringing up water from different depths below the surface, was 
invented by Doctor Marcet, expressly for the use of this Expedition<Lt 
It consists of a strong and heavy cylindrical box of cast iron, having 
a small aperture at each end ; through these apertures passes a bolt 
which, when let down into its place, completely closes them, but 
when held up by means of a catch in the upper part of the box, o 
allows the water to pass through them freely, both at the top and,>2 
bottom. Being thus set, it is let down to any depth required, byo 



XIV INTRODtJC'riON. 

a line passing through a hole in a spherical iron weight about 
the size of a four-pounder shot, which is retained on board till 
the instrument is low enough ; the weight is then let go, and 
running rapidly down the line, strikes the catch so as to release 
it, and close the apertures, confining the water which has entered 
the cylinder. This instrument, from its extreme simplicity, and 
the certainty with which it obtains the water from a known depth, 
seems the best of any which has yet been adopted for this 
purpose. 

Care has been taken to avoid, as much as possible, the use of technical 
expressions, which might serve to render the Narrative unintelligible 
to any but seamen : as, however, such expressions cannot at all 
times be dispensed with, especially in the navigation among ice, 
the nature of which is totally different from any other, I have sub- 
joined an Explanation of the few terms of this kind which occur 
in the course of my Journal. 

I had once thought to have cursorily drawn up a connected Nar- 
rative of the numerous efforts and the results of former Expedi- 
tions sent out, by this country and other maritime nations, to ex- 
plore the Arctic regions, from the earliest periods to the present 
time ; but as this would have occupied a considerable space, and, 
after all, would have been but a brief abstract of what Forster, 
Burney, and Barrow, have already done, it appeared, on second 
thoughts, a superfluous undertaking. My motive indeed, it must be 
frankly owned, was rather of a selfish kind, the gratification of myself 
and comrades, by thus bringing together the repeated exertions of 
two centuries, and those of a single voyage, and by instituting a com- 
parison of their results, so favourable and so flattering to all of us 



INTRODUCTION. W 

who had the good fortune to be employed on that voyage. Here, 
however, I must be permitted to say that, whatever the extent 
of our success may have been, it is to be ascribed, in a great 
degree, to the zealous and cordial cooperation of Lieutenant 
Liddon and all the officers of both ships, and the uniform good 
conduct of the men, to all of whom, collectively and indivi- 
dually, I am most happy in availing myself of this opportunity, 
of publicly rendering that justice which is so eminently their 
due. 

In closing this introductory part of the work, I would willingly 
offer a few words by way of apology, for the many faults which, I 
am but too well convinced, will be found in the stile of the 
Narrative. It has been said, " Les marins ecrivent mal, mats avec 
assez de candeur" None can feel more deeply than myself the truth of 
the former part of this assertion ; and none, I can with equal sincerity 
aver, have studied more to deserve the concluding part; but I 
build my chief hopes of disarming the severity of criticism, on a 
consideration of that early period of life at which the nature of 
our profession calls us from our studies, and which, in my own 
case, drew me away at the age of twelve, and has kept me 
constantly employed at sea ever since. The extent of my aim has 
been, to give a plain and faithful account of the facts which I 
collected, and the observations which were made by myself and 
others, in the course of the voyage ; and these, as far as they go, may 
be relied on as scrupulously exact. It is for others, better qualified 
than ourselves, to make their deductions from those facts. 

We collected, and have brought home, specimens of the natural 
productions of those seas and islands which we visited ; marking with 



XVI INTRODUCTION. 

care the places at which they were respectively procured ; and it 
is hoped, that the papers in the Appendix, relating to Natural History, 
will shew that no great loss to that branch of science has been 
sustained, by the absence of a professional naturalist in the Expe- 
dition. In fact, Captain Sabine, in a great degree, supplied the 
place of a person of this description ; and to him, in particular, 
the Appendix will shew, that science and philosophy stand greatly 
indebted for a collection of facts and experiments, in a part of the 
world hitherto but little known, and never before visited by Eu- 
ropeans. 



~:i^)iMir*m'i<!^i hmmlkf -■ 



EXPLANATION OF TECHNICAL TERMS 

MADE USE OF IN THE COURSE OF THE 
FOLLOWING NARRATIVE. 



Bay-Ice. — Ice newly formed upon the surface. 

Beset. — The situation of a ship, when so closely surrounded by ice, as to prevent her 
sailing about. 

Bight. — An indentation in a floe of ice, like a bay, by which name it is sometimes called. 

Blink. — A peculiar brightness in the atmosphere which is almost always perceptible in 
approaching ice, or land covered with snow. — Land-blink is usually more yellow 
than that of ice. 

Bore. — The operation of " boring" through loose ice consists in entering it under a press 
of sail, and forcing the ship through by separating the masses. 

Clear Water. — The sea unincumbered with ice. 

Crow's-]^ EST. — A circular house, like a cask^ fixed at the mast-head, in which the look- 
out man sits, either to guide the ship through the ice, or to give notice of 
whales. 

Dock. — An artificial dock is formed by cutting out with saws a square space in a thick 
floe, in which a ship is placed, in order to secure her from the pressure of other 
masses which are seen to be approaching, and which might otherwise endanger 
her being " nipped." — A " natural dock" is simply a small bight, accidentally 
found under similar circumstances. 

Field. — A sheet of ice, generally of great thickness, and of such extent that its limits 
cannot be seen from a ship's mast-head. 

Floe. — The same as a field, except that its extent can be distinguished from a ship's mast- 
head. — A " bay-floe" is a floe of ice newly formed upon the surface. 

A Hole, or Pool of Wa ter. — A small space of clear water, surrounded by ice on 

every side. 

Land Ice. — Ice attached to the land, either in floes, or in heavy grounded masses, forced 
up near the shore by external pressure. 



XVIU EXPLANATION OF TECHNICAL TERMS. 

A Lead. — A channel through the ice. — A ship is said to take a right lead, when she 
follows that channel which conducts her into a clear, or at least, a navigable 
sea, and vice versa. 

Nipped. — To be forcibly pressed between two or more masses of ice. 

A Pack. — A large body of loose ice, whose extent caimot be seen. 

A Patch of Ice. — The same as a pack, but of small dimensions. 

Sailjng-Ice. — Ice of which the masses are so much separated, as to allow a ship to sail 
among them without great difficulty. 

A Tongue. — A mass of ice projecting under water, in a horizontal direction, from an ice- 
berg or floe. — A ship sometimes grazes, or is set fast on a tongue of ice, 
which may, however, generally be avoided, being easily seen in smooth water. 

A Water-Ukt. — A certain dark appearance of the sky which indicates clear water in that 
direction, and which, when contrasted with the blink over ice, or land, is very 
conspicuous. 

Young Ice. — The same as bay-ice. 



su'MmiXiSV '■'i^ 



OFFICIAL INSTRUCTIONS. 



By the Commissioners for executing the Office of 
Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom 
of Great Britain and Ireland, <^c. ^c. 



Whereas we have thought fit to appoint you to the command 
of an Expedition, for the purpose of endeavouring to discover a 
North- West Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ; you 
are hereby required and directed to put to sea in the Hecla, and, 
in company with the Griper, which, with her commander Lieutenant 
Liddon, has been placed under your orders, make the best of 
your way to the entrance of Davis' Strait. 

On your arrival in this Strait, your further proceedings must be 
regulated chiefly by the position and extent of the ice; but, on 
finding it sufficiently open to permit your approach to the western 
shores of the Strait, and your advance to the northward as far as 



XX OFFICIAL INSTRUCTIONS. 

the opening into Sir James Lancaster's Sound, you are to proceed 
in the first instance to that part of the coast, and use your best 
endeavours to explore the bottom of that Sound ; or, in the event 
of its proving a strait opening to the westward, you are to use all 
possible means, consistently with the safety of the two ships, to 
pass through it, and ascertain its direction and communications ; 
and if it should be found to connect itself with the northern sea, 
you are to make the best of your way to Behring's Strait. 

Ifj however, you should ascertain that there is no passage through 
Sir James Lancaster's Sound, but that it is enclosed by continuous 
land, or so completely blocked up with ice as to afford no hope 
of a passage through it, you are in that case to proceed to the north- 
ward, and in like manner examine Alderman Jones's Sound. Fail- 
ing to find a passage through this Sound, you are to make the 
best of your way to Sir Thomas Smith's Sound, which is described 
by Baffin as the largest in the whole bay; and carefully explore, 
as far as practicable, every part of it, as well as of any strait you 
may discover, leading from it into any other sea. On failing to make 
a passage through this Sound, you are to return to the southward 
down Baffin's Bay, and endeavour to make your way through Cum- 
berland Strait, or any opening in that neighbourhood which may 
lead you to the seas adjoining the eastern or northern coast of 
America ; you are then, by whatever course you may have reached 
these seas, to pursue your voyage along that coast, to the northward 
or westward to Behring's Strait. .tAf-fp^sMVi-v.fti ^^■fiffir,^'^fif^f.,^^ 
iUiWe have hitherto supposed that, on your first arrival in Davis' 
Strait, the navigation to the northward shall be found practicable. 
If, however, you should find the contrary to be the case, and that 



OFFICIAL INSTRUCTIONS. 



the sea towards the western side of the Strait is so loaded with ice, 
as to render it difficult and dangerous for the ships to proceed so 
far to the northward as Lancaster Sound, at so early a period of 
the season ; it may be advisable, in that case, to endeavour in the 
first instance, to examine Cumberland Strait, or any other opening 
that may be likely to ^bring you to the eastern coast of America, 
in preference to the loss of time and the danger to the ships, 
which might be occasioned in persevering too anxiously in the at- 
tempt to get to Lancaster Sound; and should you, on your first 
reaching Davis' Strait, find it to be impracticable to make your 
way up the western side of the Strait to that Sound, or even to 
Cumberland Strait, you will understand, that you are at liberty 
to proceed towards those places, going round by a more easterly track, 
if the state of the ice, and all other circumstances, should induce you 
to think it most advisable to do so. Thus, although the track, 
which we wish you to pursue, if practicable, is pointed out ; you 
will, nevertheless, perceive, that the course to be finally adopted 
by you for getting to the northward, is, in fact, left to your own 
discretion, on a careful examination into the state of the ice on 
your arrival in Davis' Strait ; always bearing in mind, that, it is 
an important object of the Expedition, that Lancaster Sound be 
thoroughly examined by you, and afterwards those of Jones and 
Smith, if you should have failed in previously finding a passage to 
the westward. . :, .; 

Should you be so successful as to find a passage to the westward,' 
it will be advisable to make the best of your way, without stopping 
to examine any part of the northern coast of America, to Behring's 
Strait; and if you should fortunately accomplish your passage 



XXll OFFICIAL INSTRUCTIONS. 



through that Strait, you are then to proceed to Kamtschatka (if 
you think you can do so without risk of being shut up by the ice 
on that coast), for the purpose of deliv.ering to the Russian Governor, 
duplicates of all the Journals and other documents which the passage 
may have supplied, with a request that they may be forwarded 
over-land to St. Petersburgh, to be conveyed from thence to London. 
From Kamtschatka you will proceed to the Sandwich Islands, or 
Canton, or such other place as you may think proper, to refit the 
ships and refresh the crews ; and, if during your stay at such place, 
a safe opportunity should occur of sending papers to England, you 
should send duplicates by such conveyance. And, after having re- 
fitted and refreshed, you are to lose no time in returning to England, 
by such route as you may deem most convenient. 

If, at any period of your voyage, but particularly after you shall 
haye doubled the north-eastern extremity of America, the season 
shall be so far advanced as to make it unsafe to navigate the ships, on 
account of the long nights having set in, and the sea not being free 
from ice ; and the health of your crews, the state of the ships, and all 
concurrent circumstances, should combine to induce you to form the 
resolution of wintering in those regions, you are to use your best eji* 
deavours to discover a sheltered and safe harbour, where the ships 
may be placed in security for the winter; taking such measures for 
the health and comfort of the people committed to your charge, as 
the materials with which you are supplied for housing-in the ships, or 
hutting the men on shore, may enable you to do. And, if you shall 
find it expedient to resort to this measure, and you should meet with 
any inhabitants, either Esquimaux or Indians, near the place where 
you winter, you are to endeavour, by every means in your power, to 



OFFICIAL INSTRUCTIONS. XXIII 

» 

cultivate a friendship with them, by making them presents of sucli 
articles as you may be supplied with, and which may be useful or 
agreeable to them. You will, however, take care not to suffer yourself 
to be surprised by them, but use every precaution, and be constantly 
on your guard against any hostility. \*'o'- ^ 

You will endeavour to prevail on them, by such reward, and to be 
paid in such manner, as you may think best to answer the purpose, to 
carry to any of the settlements of the Hudson's Bay Company, or of 
the North- West Company, an account of your situation and pro- 
ceedings ; with an urgent request that it may be forwarded to England 
with the utmost possible despatch. 

In an undertaking of this description, much must, of course, be always 
left to the discretion of the commanding officer ; and, as the objects 
of this Expedition have been fully explained to you, and you have 
already had some experience on service of this nature, we are con- 
vinced we cannot do better than leave it to your judgment, when on 
the spot, in the event of your not making a passage this season, either 
to winter on the coast, with the view of following up next season, 
any hopes or expectations which your observations this year may 
lead you to entertain, or to return to England, to report to us the 
result of such observations; always recollecting our anxiety for the 
health, comfort, and safety of yourself, your officers, and men ; and 
further considering how far the advantage of starting next season 
from an advanced position, may not be counter-balanced by what 
may be suffered during the winter, and by the want of such re- 
freshment and refitting, as would be afforded by your return to 
England. 
^^, We deem it right to caution you against suffering the two 



XXIV OFFICIAL INSTRUCTIONS. 

vessels placed under your orders to separate, except in the event 
of accident or unavoidable necessity, and we desire you to keep 
up the most unreserved communications with the commander of 
the Griper; placing in him every proper confidence, and ac- 
quainting him with the general tenor of your orders, and with 
your views and intentions, from time to time, in the execution 
of them; that the service may have the full benefit of your 
united efi"orts in the prosecution of such a service; and that, 
in the event of unavoidable separation, or of any accident to 
yourself, Lieutenant Liddon may have the advantage of knowing, 
up to the latest practicable period, all your ideas and inten- 
tions, relative to a satisfactory completion of this interesting under- 
taking. 

'f* We also recommend, that as frequent an exchange take place, 
as conveniently may be, of the observations made in the two 
ships ; that any scientific discovery made by the one be, as 
quickly as possible, communicated for the advantage and guidance 
of the other, in making their future observations ; and to increase 
the chance of the observations of both being preserved. 
;'«i We have caused a great variety of valuable instruments to be put 
on board the ships under your orders ; of which you will be furnished 
with a list, and for the return of which you will be held responsible ; 
and we have also, at the recommendation of the President and Council 
of the Royal Society, ordered to be received on board the Hecla, 
Captain Sabine, of the Royal Artillery, who is represented to us as 
a gentleman well skilled in Astronomy, Natural History, and various 
branches of knowledge, to assist you in making such observations as 
may tend to the improvement of Geography and Navigation, and the 



OFFICIAL INSTRUCTIONS. XXV 

advancement of science in general. Amongst other subjects of scien- 
tific inquiry, you will particularly direct your attention to the variation 
and inclination of the magnetic needle, and the intensity of the mag- 
netic force ; you will endeavour to ascertain how far the needle may 
be affected by the atmospherical electricity, and what effect may be 
produced on the electrometer and magnetic needle on the appearance 
of the Aurora Borealis. You will keep a correct register of the tem- 
perature of the air, and of the sea, at the surface and at different 
depths. You will cause the dip of the horizon to be frequently 
observed by the dip sector, invented by^ Dr. Wollaston ; and ascer- 
tain what effect may be produced by measuring that dip across fields 
of ice, as compared with its measurement across the surface of the 
open sea. You will also cause frequent observations to be made for 
ascertaining the refraction, and what effect may be produced by 
observing an object, either celestial or terrestrial, over a field of ice, 
as compared with objects observed over a surface of water : together 
with such other meteorological remarks as you may have opportunities 
of making. You are to attend particularly to the height, direction, 
and strength of the tides, and to the set and velocity of the currents ; 
the depth and soundings of the sea, and the nature of the bottom ; 
for which purpose you are supplied with an instrument better calcu- 
lated to bring up substances than the lead usually employed for this 
purpose. 

And you are to understand, that although the finding a passage from 
the Atlantic to the Pacific is the main object of this Expedition, yet, 
that the ascertaining the correct position of the different points of the 
land on the western shores of Baffin's Bay, and the different observa- 
tions you may be enabled to make with regard to the magnetic influ- 

(I 



XXVI OFFICIAL INSTRUCTIONS. 

ence in that neighbourhood, supposed to be so near the position of 
one of the great magnetic poles of the earth, as well as such other 
observations as you may have opportunities of making in Natural 
History, Geography, ^c, in parts of the globe, ^c, little known, 
must prove most valuable and interesting to the science of our 
country; and we, therefore, desire you to give your unremitting 
attention, and to call that of all the officers under your command, to 
these points; as being objects likely to prove of almost equal import- 
ance to the principal one before-mentioned, of ascertaining whether 
there exist any passage to the northward, from the one ocean to the 
other. 

For the purpose, not only of ascertaining the set of the currents in 
the Arctic Seas, but also of affording more frequent chances of hear- 
ing of your progress, we desire that you do, frequently after you have 
passed the latitude of 65° north, and once every day, when you shall 
be in an ascertained current, throw overboard a bottle, closely sealed, 
and containing a paper stating the date and position at which it is 
launched ; and you will give similar orders to the Commander of the 
Griper, to be executed in case of separation ; and, for this purpose, 
we have caused each ship to be supplied with papers, on which is 
printed, in several languages, a request, that whoever may find it 
should take measures for transmitting it to this office. 

And although you are not to be drawn aside from the main object of 
the service on which you are employed, as long as you may be 
enabled to make any progress ; yet, whenever you may be impeded 
by the ice, or find it necessary to approach the coasts of the continent 
or islands, you are to cause views of bays, harbours, headlands, ^c, 
to be carefully taken, to illustrate and explain the track of the vessels. 



' OFFICIAJ* INSTRUCTIONS. XXVll 

or such charts as you may be able to make ; in which duty you will be 
assisted by Lieutenants Beechey and Hoppner, whose skill in drawing 
is represented to be so considerable, as to supersede the necessity of 
appointing professional draughtsmen. 

You are to make use of every means in your power to collect and 
preserve such specimens of the animal, mineral, and vegetable king- 
doms, as you can conveniently stow on board the ships ; and of the 
larger animals you are to cause accurate drawings to be made, to 
accompany and elucidate the descriptions of them : in this, as well as 
in every other part of your scientific duty, we trust that you will 
receive material assistance from Captain Sabine. .^ 

In the event of any irreparable accident happening to either of the 
two ships, you are to cause the officers and crew of the disabled ship 
to be removed into the other ; and with her singly to proceed in pro- 
secution of the voyage, or return to England, according as circum- 
stances shall appear to require ; understanding that the officers and 
crews of both ships are hereby authorized and required to continue to 
perform their duties, according to their respective ranks and stations, 
on board either ship to which they may be so removed, in the event 
of an occurrence of this nature. Should, unfortunately, your own 
ship be the one disabled, you are, in that case, to take the command 
of the Griper ; and, in the event of any fetal accident happening to 
yourself, Lieutenant Liddon is hereby authorized to take the command 
of the Hecla, placing the officer of the Expedition, who may then be 
next in seniority to him in command of the Griper ; also, in the event 
of your own inability by sickness or otherwise, at any period of this 
service, to continue to carry these Ipstructions into execution, you are 
t^ transfer them to the officer the next in conunand to you employed 



OFFICIAL INSTRUCTIONS. 



on the Expedition, who is hereby required to execute them in the.uf 
best manner he can, for the attainment of the several objects in ft, 
view. 

His Majesty's Government having appointed Lieutenant Franklin 
to the command of an expedition to explore the northern coast of 
North America, from the mouth of the Copper-mine River of Hearne ; 
it would be desirable, in the event of your touching on that coast, to 
leave some testimonial of your having been there, with the date, and 
such circumstances as you may find convenient, for the lieutenant's 
information ; and you will do the same wherever you may stop on 
that coast, by erecting a pole, having a flag, or some other mark by 
which it may be distinguished at a distance, (and you should endea- 
vour to place such mark on the situation in which it may be most ex- 
tensively visible,) and burying a bottle at the foot of it, or otherwise, 
containing an abstract of your proceedings and future intentions ; 
corresponding instructions having been given to Lieutenant Franklin 
to leave a similar notice at any convenient part of the coast which 
he may discover between the mouth of the said river and the eastern 
part of North America. 

You are, while executing the service pointed out in these Instruc- 
tions, to take every opportunity that may offer of acquainting our 
Secretary, for our information, with your progress : and on your arrival 
in England, you are immediately to repair to this office, in order to 
lay before us a full account of your proceedings in the whole course 
of your voyage ; taking care, before you leave the ship, to demand 
from the officers, petty officers, and all other persons on board, the 
logs and journals they may have kept ; together with any drawings 
or charts they may have made ; which are all to be sealed up ; and 



OFFICIAL INSTRUCTIONS. 



XXIX 



and you will issue similar directions to Lieutenant Liddon and his '^ 
officers, i^c. ; the said logs, journals, or other documents, to be there- > 
after disposed of as we may think proper to determine. 

' Given under our hands the 1st day of May, 1819. 

jam/- (Signed) Melville, liioH 

G. MooRE, ' ^^"ovf a 
M-gmfsd 1U0X }' G. CocKBURN. 



Bi/ Command of their Lordships, 



(Signed) 



J. W. Croker. 

•- sfljt no 



' vsra ii iiDfxfw 
■Iq vi Tjjov 



'Bol oi 



To ^1 io ja; 

Lieutenant William Edward Party , 

Commanding His Mcfjesty s 
Ship the Hecla. 

ma Aih liqoi 9V^ 



' >ns uoY 

■.a 

III 

-■-,' !;.^..w io 

:> 3i{ijnri,oi^ 
4 hoB gTjoi 



bn£ ^ qu b9l-B98 9d oJ Ua siu ibuiw | Qham 9¥fid -^sra ^od^ gJierio lo 



VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. 



VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 



OF A 



NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 



CHAPTER I. 

PASSAGE ACROSS THE ATLANTIC ENTER DAVIs' STRAIT UNSUCCESSFUL 

ATTEMPT TO PENETRATE THE ICE TO THE WESTERN COAST VOYAGE UP 

THE STRAIT PASSAGE THROUGH THE ICE TO THE WESTERN COAST 

ARRIVAL OFF POSSESSION BAY, ON THE SOUTHERN SIDE OF THE ENTRANCE 
INTO SIR JAMES LANCASTER'S SOUND. 

1 HE Hecla and Griper were ready to drop down the river in the early part 1819. 
of April ; but, the wind continuing to the eastward, the pilots would not v^.^ 
venture to turn them down. The wind remained in the same quarter till the 
beginning of May, beyond which time it would not have been prudent to 
delay our moving. Application was, therefore, made for a steam-boat to tow 
the ships to Northfleet, and on the 4th, at eight A.M., the Hecla was taken in 
tow by the Eclipse, of sixty-horse power. With a fresh breeze right a-head, 
she moved at the rate of three miles and a half an hour through the Avater, and 
was made fast to the buoy at Northfleet at a quarter past noon. The steam- 
boat returned to Deptford for the Griper, and arrived with her at night. 

The guns and gunner's-stores were received on baord on the 6th ; and, 
all the iron being now stowed, as it would probably remain for the rest of 
the voyage, the afternoon of that day was occupied in obtaining some steady 
observations on the irregularities of the magnetic needle on board the Hecla, 
by turning her head round to each point of the compass in succession. These 
observations will be found in the Appendix. 



2 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. The ships took their powder on board on the 7th, and moved to the LoAver- 
x,,^^ Hope. On the evening of the following day they anchored at the Nore, 
where the instruments and chronometers were embarked. I furnished Lieu- 
tenant Liddon with a complete copy of the Instructions which I had received 
from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, together with an order 
containing general directions for the economical use of the provisions and 
stores, and for the mode of registering the various observations to be made 
during the voyage ; appointing also certain places of rendezvous in case of 
unavoidable separation. 

Captain Sabine went on shore at Garrison-Point, on the 9th, to make ob- 
servations on the magnetic force with some needles of a new construction by 
Captain Henry Kater. Of these observations an account by Captain Sabine 
will be found in the Appendix. 

Commissioner Boyle came on board on the evening of the 10th, to superin- 
tend the payment of the arrears of wages, and three months' advance, to the 
seamen and marines. On the following day, when the men had supplied 
themselves with a sufficient stock of clothes, according to a list which had 
been previously issued, the ships weighed at ten A.M., and at noon were 
abreast the Nore-light. The wind being free, the Hecla, at sunset, had out- 
sailed the Griper about three miles. 

Wed. 12. Finding the Griper continued to detain us this morning, I determined to 
take her in tow, and at three P.M. we ran through Yarmouth Roads, but 
anchored in the evening with the flood-tide, the wind being too light to 
enable the ships to stem it. Soon after midnight we again weighed, the 

Frid. 14. wind having got round to the N.b.W^. On the morning of the 14th, in 
beating to the northward, the Hecla touched the ground on the east end of 
Sheringham-Shoals, Cromer Light-house bearing S.b.E. per compass. The 
pilot should not have brought it to the eastward of south, on which bearing 
there is no danger. Finding the ships made no way, and that it would 
not be practicable to anchor with the lee-tide, we bore up for Yarmouth 
Roads, and anchored within the Cockle Gat at two P.M. 

Sat. 15. At noon on the following day, while getting under way, I received a 
visit from Captain Wells, of His Majesty's sloop the Wye, who kindly offered 
every assistance in his power, and sent us our last supply of English beef, 
as we passed his ship. A favourable breeze springing up on the morning of 

Sun. 16. the 16th, the Griper was taken in tow, and at two P.M. on the 19th, we made 

Wed. 19. Fair Island. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 3 

It fell calm in the evening, and several fine cod fQadus MorhuaJ and coal- 
fish fGadus Carbonarius) were caught ; the centre of the island bearing N.E. 
half N. per compass, distant eight or nine miles. This was the last supply 
of fresh fish that we obtained during the voyage. It was light enough at mid- 
night, to see Fair Island distinctly at the distance of ten miles. 

On the 20th, we spoke the Danish brig David Eske, from Copenhagen, Thur. 20. 
bound to Disko Island. The Griper was taken in tow again in the evening, 
and we rounded the northern-point of the Orkneys, at the distance of two 
miles and a half, having from thirty to thirty-six fathoms of water. 

We made the island of Rona on the 21st., and Bara on the following Fnd. 21. 
morning. The position of these islands by our observations is : Sat. 22. 

BARA. RONA. 

Latitude, ... 59° 04' 24". 59° 05' 54". 

Longitude, . . 6° 14' 34". 5° 52' 04". 

As we ran along to the northward of them, at the distance of six or seven 
miles, the soundings were from fifty to seventy-five fathoms, the deepest 
being off Bara, on a bottom of gravel, coarse sand, and broken shells. 

It is recommended by the most experienced of the Greenland Masters, to 
cross the Atlantic to Davis' Strait, about the parallel of 57|° or 58°, and I 
shaped our course accordingly. A bottle was thrown overboard, containing 
a printed paper, stating the date and the situation of the ships, with a request, 
in six European languages, that any person finding it would forward it to the 
Secretary of the Admiralty, with a notice of the time and place where it was 
found *. One bottle, at least, was thrown out daily during the voyage, except 
when the ships were " beset" in the ice. 

The wind being right aft on the morning of the 24th, the Griper, still in Mon. 24. 
tow, took the wind out of our sails, and forged a-head, obliging us to cast 
off the hawser. Soon after noon we made Rockall ; its latitude, by our 
observations, was 57° 38' 40", and its longitude 13° 47' 42". The geogra- 
phical position of this remarkable rock was determined by Captain Capel, in 
1818, to be lat. 57° 39' 32", long. 13° 31' 16", which is to be preferred to 

* The purpose intended to be answered by this kind of communication, will be best 
understood, by referring to my Instructions from the Lords Commissioners of the 
Admiralty. 

B I 



4 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

ours, owing to the distance at which we passed it. There is, perhaps, no 
more striking proof of the infinite value of chronometers at sea, than the 
certainty with which a ship may sail directly for a single rock like this, rising 
like a speck out of the ocean, and at the distance of forty-seven leagues from 
" any other land. At seven P.M., the Griper having again dropped five or six 
miles astern, we hove to for her to come up ; and, taking this opportunity to 
try the temperature of the water below the surface by Six's self-registering 
thermometer, we unexpectedly obtained soundings in one hundred and 
forty fathoms, on a bottom of very fine white sand, Rockall bearing S. 85° E., 
distant thirty miles and three-quarters. The temperature of the water at the 
bottom was 47|°, that of the surface being 491°, and of the air 50°. The 
Griper was again taken in tow, with a breeze from the eastward, which in- 

Tues. 25. creased to a fresh gale the following morning, when the hawser, by which 
we towed the Griper, gave way ; we hove to for her in the evening, being 
in lat. 57° 04' 10", long. 17° 52' 50", when some water was brought up from 
one hundred fathoms' depth in the bottle contrived by Doctor Marcet ; its 
specific gravity was 1.0268, at the temperature of 58°, that of the surface 
water being the same. The temperature of the water at the same depth was 
49°, that of the surface being 50°, and of the air 50|°. 

Tliur. 27. On the 27th, we cast off the Griper, and hauled a little to the northward, 
in order to pass near the spot where Lieutenant Pickersgill obtained sound- 
ings, from three hundred and twenty to three hundred and thirty fathoms, 
on the 29th of June, 1776 ; and, at six P.M., being in lat. 56° 59' 39", and 
long, by chronometers, 24° 33' 40", the deep-sea clarams were sent down with 
one thousand and twenty fathoms of line, without finding bottom. The 
temperature of the sea at that dejith was 45|°, that of the surface being 48|°, 
and of the air 49°. 

Frid. 28. It fell calm towards noon on the 28th, the ship being in lat. 57° 26' 16", 
long. 25° 11' 51". The current was tried in a boat moored by an iron kettle, 
in the usual way, but not the smallest stream was perceptible. Six's ther- 
mometer was sent down to one hundred and twenty fathoms, but did not 
indicate the temperature, owing to the mercury rising past the index, instead 
of pushing it up before it ; a failure 1 have often had occasion to regret in 
this useful instrument, when thus exposed to a very sudden change of 
temperature. It might, perhaps, be improved for this particular purpose, by 
making the lower end of each index a little larger, so as to prevent the 
passage of the mercury between it and the tube. Some water, from one 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 5 

hundred and thirty fathoms' depth, was at the temperature of 48° on coming 
to the surface, that of the surface being 49°, and of the air 49°. Its specific 
gravity was 1.0266 at the temperature of 61°, being the same as that of the 
surface-water. 

The wind veered to the westward on the 30th, and increased to a fresh Sun. .30. 
gale, with an irregular sea, and heavy rain, which brought us under our 
close-reefed topsails. At half-past one, P.M., we began to cross the space 
in which the " Sunken Land of Bus'' is laid down in Steel's chart from 
England to Greenland ; and, in the course of this and the following day, we 
tried for soundings several times without success, the ship's position being 
as folloAvs: 

LONGITUDE. FATHOMS. 

- - - ^ 29° 30' 160 



LATITUDE, 


57° 


46' 


57 


49 


58 


02 


58 


07 


58 


14 


58 


13 



- - - - 29 22 90 

- - - - 29 32 80 

- - - - 29 34 85 

- - - - 29 46 100 

- - - - 30 52 170 

This being the anniversary of His Majesty's birth-day, and the weather Friday4. 
being calm and fine, I directed an additional allowance of grog to be served 
out, or, in seamen's phrase, " the main brace to be spliced." In the evening, 
being then in lat. 55° 01', and long. 35° 56', we tried for soundings with 
two hundred and fifty fathoms of line, without finding bottom. The 
temperature of the sea at that depth was 44|°, surface 44,j°, air 43°. 

On the 7th and 8th, we had hard gales from the westward, with a heavy 7 and 8. 
sea. Indeed, from the 1st to the 14th of June, we experienced a continued 
series of unfavourable winds and unpleasant weather, so that very little 
progress could be made to the westward. 

On the 13th, being in lat. 57° 51', and long. 41° 05', the temperature of Sun. 13. 
the sea, at two hundred and thirty-five fathoms' depth, was found to be 
39°, surface 40|°, air 41 1°. A very slight current was found to set to the 
southward. We saw, to-day, large flocks of sheerwaters (Procellaria PuffinusJ, 
called by the sailors, " cape hens," from an idea that they are only to be. 
found near Cape Farewell. I do not remember to have met with these birds 
in any other part of Davis' Strait, or in Baffin's Bay. 

On the 15th, a breeze sprung up from the eastward, and at noon we very Tues.i5. 



6 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

unexpectedly saw land at a great distance, bearing due north. This could be 
no other than the land about Cape Farewell, of which the longitude, by our 
chronometers, being the same as that of the ship, was 42° 56' 41", agreeing 
nearly with that given in the tables of Maskelyne, Mendoza Rios, and Robertson, 
and in the Connaissance des Terns, being from 2° to 3° to the eastward of the po- 
sition assigned to it in most of the charts. This accounts for a remark, which is 
common among the whalers, that they always make this headland in coming 
from the eastward, sooner than they expect ; a circumstance which they natu- 
rally attribute to the effect of a westerly current. If the latitude of Cape Farewell 
be so far to the northward as 59° 37' 30'', which is the mean of nine different 
authorities, our distance from it this day must have been more than forty 
leagues. It is by no means impossible that the bold land of Greenland may 
be distinguished at so great a distance ; and it is proper to remark, that the 
weather, at the time we saw it, was precisely that which is said to be most 
favourable for seeing objects at a great distance, namely, just before or after 
rain, when the humidity of the atmosphere increases its transparency *. 
Wed. 16. The wind again backed to the westward on the 16th, and we stretched to the 
Thur. 17. northward towards the land. On the evening of the 17th, being in lat. 58° 52', 
and long. 48° 12', the colour of the water was observed to be of a lighter green 
than that of the ocean in general ; but we could find no soundings with two 
hundred and ninety fathoms of line. The temperature of the sea at that depth, 
was 38|°, of the surface, 38|, and of the air, 381°. 
Frid. 18. Early in the morning of the 18th, in standing to the northward, we fell in 
with the first " stream" of ice we had seen, and soon after saw several ice- 
bergs. At daylight the water had changed its colour to a dirty brownish tinge. 
We had occasion to remark the same in entering Davis' Strait in 1818, when 
no difference in its temperature was perceptible. The temperature of the wa- 
ter this morning was 36^°, being 3° colder than on the preceding night ; a de- 
crease that was probably occasioned by our approach to the ice. We ran through 
a narrow part of the stream, and found the ice beyond it to be " packed" and 
heavy. The birds were more numerous than usual ; and, besides the fulmar 
petrels, boatswains, and kittiwakes, we saw, for the first time, some rotges 
{"Alca AlleJ dovekies, or black guillemots (Colymbus GrylleJ and terns (Sterna 
Hirundo,) the latter known best to seamen by the name of the Greenland swal- 
low. Soon after noon, being in lat. 59° 40', long. 47° 46', and the water being 

* Humboldt. Personal Narrative, I. pp. 81. 101, 102. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 7 

of the same colour as in the morning, we tried for soundings, but could find no ^^l^- 
bottom with two hundred and sixty fathoms. The temperature of the sea at ^,*-t-v.' 
that depth was 39°, that of the surface being then 37°, and of the air 35°. The 
specific gravity of the surface water which at noon was 1.0262, at the temperature 
of 56", had decreased to 1.0257, at that of 57°. On the 19th, at noon we were Sat. 19. 
in latitude, by observation on the ice, 59° 48' 26"*, and in longitude, by the 
chronometers, 48° 01' 50", when a current was found to set S. 50° W. at the rate 
of six miles per day. A breeze springing up from the eastward, we bore away 
to the W.N.W., through rather close " sailing ice." The fog which had pre- 
vailed during the day cleared away in the evening, and discovered to us the 
coast of Greenland, bearing from N. 3° W. to N. 62° E., at the distance of twelve 
or thirteen leagues. On the following morning a very remarkable hill, being the Sun. 20. 
highest land in sight, was found, by a base measured by Massey's patent log, to 
be in lat. 60° 53' 29 ', and long. 48° 42' 22". This position answers nearly to an 
island called Nona in Arrowsmith's chart, a little to the eastward of Cape De- 
solation. The water still continued of the same dirty colour as before ; but at 
half past four P.M., when we hove to, for the purpose of taking the Griper in 
tow, we could find no bottom with a hundred and forty fathoms of line. On 
the evening of the 21st, having run to the westward as far as 55° 01' W. in the Mon. 21. 
lat. of 61° 26'; we observed the colour of the water to have changed from the 
brownish tinge before-mentioned, to a light bluish green ; and it is remarkable 
that its specific gravity was found to have increased, within a few hours, 
from 1.0257 to 1.0261, both being at the temperature of 57° when weighed. 
These experiments seem to confirm those made on the 18th, and to render 
it highly probable, that the brown colour remarked in the sea was occasioned 
by the admixture of a large portion of fresh water, supplied by the melting 
of the snow and ice. 

On the 21st and 22d, we sailed to the W.N.W. in an open sea ; and, onTues. 22. 
the 23d, at noon, being in lat. 62° 43' 09", long. 61° 32' 49", we saw several Wed. 23. 
icebergs, and some loose ice, to the north-westward. We obtained soundings 

* The ice here havmg a motion -which was very perceptible in the artificial horizon, we 
had recourse to a mode of observing the meridian altitude, which we had occasionally 
adopted in the former voyage. Two observers brought the same limb of the sun down in 
separate horizons ; the first of these taking care never to allow the two images to separate 
entirely, and the second never permitting them to overlap. The mean of the two ob- 
servations being then taken, the error arising from the rolling motion of the ice may thus be 
in a great measure obviated, and the altitude obtained within the nearest minute. 



8 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. in the evening in two hundred fathoms, fine sandy bottom, being close to a 
v,,^^ large iceberg, from which copious streams of water were flowing on the side 

next the sun. 
Tluir.24. On the clearing up of a fog, on the morning of the 24th, we saw a long 
chain of icebergs, extending several miles in a N.b.W. and S.b.E. direction ; 
and, as we approached them, we found a quantity of " floe-ice" intermixed 
with them, beyond which, to the westward, nothing but ice could be seen. 
At noon being in lat. 63° 34' 24", long. 61° 34' 28", we had soundings, with 
one hundred and twenty fathoms of line, on a bottom of fine sand, which 
makes it probable that most of the icebergs were aground in this place. 
In the afternoon, we sailed within the edge of the ice, as much as a light 
westerly wind would admit, in order to approach the western land, as 
directed by my instructions. Some curious efiects of atmospheric refraction 
were observed this evening, the low ice being at times considerably raised 
in the horizon, and constantly altering its appearance. An iceberg, at the 
distance of two or three njiles from us, assumed an inverted shape, as in the 
, following figure : 

Inverted Image. 



Iceberg. 



Frid.25, The weather being nearly calm on the morning of the 25th, all the boats 
were kept a-head, to tow the ships through the ice to the westward. It 
remained tolerably open till four P.M., when a breeze, freshening up from 
the eastward, caused the ice through which we had lately been towing, to 
close together so rapidly, that we had scarcely time to hoist up the boats 
before the ships were immoveably " beset." The clear sea which we had 
left was about four miles to the eastward of us, Avhile to the westward 
nothing but one extensive field of ice could be seen. It is impossible to 
conceive a more helpless situation than that of a ship thus beset, when all 
the power that can be applied will not alter the direction of her head a 

Sat. 26. single degree of the compass. On the 26th, we were in lat. by observation, 
63° 59' 29", and long. 61° 42' 58", having one hundred and twenty-five 
fathoms, on a fine sandy bottom. The deep-sea line indicated a drift to 
the S.b.W. Some of our gentlemen, having walked a mile or two from the 
ships, imagined that they saw the marks of a sledge upon the ice, but, as 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 9 

no traces either of doars or of one human foot appeared, they were perhaps 1819. 

June. 

mistaken. 



The observations made here on the dip and variation of the magnetic 
needle, and on the intensity of the magnetic force, as well as the result 
of a number of lunar distances, obtained on this and the two following 
days, while thus beset, will be found in the Appendix. The wind increased 
to a strong gale from the northward, which continued the whole of the 
following day-; when we found by observation that the ships had drifted Sun. 27. 
S. 23° W., thirteen miles and a quarter, the soundings having decreased to 
one hundred and twenty fathoms. 

A large black whale, (Balcena MysticetusJ being the first, was seen near 
the ships.' It is usual for these animals to descend head-foremost, displaying 
the broad fork of their enormous tail above the surface of the water ; but, 
on this occasion, the ice was so close as not to admit of this mode of descent, 
and the fish went down tail-foremost, to the great amusement of our Green- 
land sailors. 

As long as the wind continued to blow strong towards the ice, so as to 
keep it close, the ships lay securely sheltered from the sea ; but at nine in 
the evening, when it veered a little to the westward, the ice became more 
slack, and we began to feel the effects of the swell which was thus admitted 
from without : each roll of the sea forced the heavy masses of ice against 
the rudder and counter with such violence as would have greatly endan- 
gered a ship built in the ordinary way ; strengthened as ours were, however, 
they escaped without damage. Frequent endeavours were made to heave 
the heads of the ships round, in order that they might receive the heaviest 
pressure on their bows, but every attempt proved unsuccessful, and we re- 
mained in the same unpleasant situation during the whole of the 28th. Mon. 2i. 

While in this state, a large white bear came near the Griper, and was 
killed by her people, but he simk between the pieces of ice. This animal 
had, probably, been attracted by the smell of some red herrings which the 
men were frying at the time. It is a common practice with the Greenland 
sailors to take advantage of the strong sense of smelling which these creatures 
possess, by enticing them near the ships in this manner. 

The swell had somewhat subsided on the 29th, but the ships remained Tues. 29. 
firmly fixed in the ice as before. In the course of the day we saw land 
bearing N. 69° W. about thirteen leagues distant, appearing from the mast- 
head like a group of islands, and situated near to the entrance of Cumber- 

c 



|0 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. land Strait ; the soundings were one hundred and thirty-five fathoms ; the 
temperature of the sea at that depth 30° ; that of the surface being the same ; 



Wed. 30. and of the air 34°. On the 30th, the ice began to slacken a little more about 
the ships ; and, after two hours' heaving with a hawser on each bow brought 
to the capstan and windlass, we succeeded in moving the Hecla about her own 
length to the eastward, where alone any clear sea was visible. The ice con- 
tinuing to open still more in the course of the day, we were at length 
enabled to get both ships into open water, after eight hours' incessant labour. 
Our first attempt to approach the western coast having thus failed, I 
consulted the Greenland Masters, as to what were the most likely means 
to be adopted for effecting this object. Mr. Allison thought it would 
be advisable to run a degree or two back again to the southward ; while 
Mr. Fife was of opinion, that it might be attempted, with better chance 
of success, about the latitude of Mount Raleigh, which forms one side of the 
narrowest part of Davis' Strait. I determined on the latter, as being more 
conformable to the tenor of my instructions ; and a course was accordingly 
shaped close along the edge of the ice, which led us considerably to the 
eastward of north, in order to take advantage of any opening which might 
occur. On getting into clear water, we found that the rudders were much 
rubbed by the blows they had received while beset in the ice. 
July, On the 1st and 2d of July, we continued to keep close to the edge of the 

1st & 2d. ice without perceiving any opening in it. Its outer margin consisted of heavy 
detached masses, much washed by the sea, and formed what is technically 
called " a pack," this name being given to ice when so closely connected as 
not to admit the passage of a ship between the masses. Within the margin 
of the pack, it appeared to consist of heavy and extensive floes, having a 
bright ice-blink over them ; but no clear water could be discovered to the 
westward. The birds, which had hitherto been seen since our first approach 
to the ice, were fulmar petrels, little auks, looms, (Uria Brunnkhii,) and a 
few glaucous gulls, (harus Glaums.) 
Sat. 3. On the morning of the 3d the wind blew strong from the eastward, with a 
short breaking sea and thick rainy weather, which made our situation for 
some hours rather an unpleasant one, the ice being close under our lee. 
Fortunately, however, we weathered it by stretching back a few miles to the 
southward. In the afternoon the wind moderated, and we tacked again to 
the northward, crossing the Arctic circle at four P.M., in the longitude of 
57° 27' W. We passed at least fifty icebergs in the course of the day, many 







vt 



W>J\- 



^ 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. U 

of them of large dimensions. At a quarter past five P.M., we sounded in 1819. 
one hundred and fifteen fathoms ; the water at the surfaee of the sea had the vi^p^ 
same brownish tinge which has already been noticed, but no difference in 
its temperature or specific gravity could be detected. Towards midnight, 
the wind having shifted to the south-west, and moderated, another exten- 
sive chain of very large icebergs appeared to the northward : as we ap- 
proached them the wind died away, and the ships' heads were kept to the 
northward, only by the steerage way given to them by a heavy southerly 
swell, which, dashing the loose ice with tremendous force against the 
bergs, sometimes raised a white spray over the latter to the height of more 
than one hundred feet, and being accompanied with a loud noise, exactly 
resembling the roar of distant thunder, presented a scene at once sublime and 
terrific. We could find no bottom near these icebergs with one hundred and 
ten fathoms of line. 

At four A.M., on the 4th, we came to a quantity of loose ice, which lay Sun. 4. 
straggling among the bergs ; and, as there was a light breeze from the southward, 
and I was anxious to avoid, if possible, the necessity of going to the eastward, 
I pushed the Hecla into the ice, in the hope of being able to make our way 
through it. We had scarcely done so, however, before it fell calm ; when the 
ship became perfectly unmanageable, and was for some time at the mercy of 
the swell, which drifted us fast towards the bergs. All the boats were 
immediately sent a-head to tow ; and the Griper's signal was made, not to 
enter the ice. After two hours' hard pulling, we succeeded in getting the 
Hecla back again into clear water, and to a sufficient distance from the 
icebergs, which it is very dangerous to approach when there is any swell. 
At noon we were in lat. 66° 50' 47", long. 56° 47' 56", being near the 
middle of the narrowest part of Davis' Strait, which is here not more than 
fifty leagues across. Davis, on returning from his third voyage, sets it down 
at forty leagues* ; and in another place remarks : " In the latitude of sixtie- 
seuen degrees, I might see America, west, from me, and Desolation, (Green- 
land), eastf ." The truth of this last remark had been much doubted, till the 
observations made on our expedition of 1818, by determining the geographical 
position of the two coasts thus seen by Davis, served to confirm the accuracy 
of that celebrated and able navigator. 

* Hakluyt's Collection of Voyages. 
t The Worlde's Hi/drographicall Discription, 1595, 



12 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. On the 5th, it was necessary to pass through some heavy streams of ice, 
^„„^i^ in order to avoid the loss of time by going round to the eastward. On this, 
Mon. 5. ag Qjj jnany other occasions, the advantage possessed by a ship of considerable 
weight in the water, in separating the heavy masses of ice, was very apparent. 
In some of the streams, through which the Hecla passed, a vessel of a 
hundred tons less burthen must have been immoveably beset. The Griper 
was on this, and many other occasions, only enabled to follow the Hecla by 
taking advantage of the openings made by the latter. 
Tues. 6. At noon, on the 6th, being in lat. 67° 44' 05 ", long. 57° 46' 26", we had 
soundings in one hundred and seventy-two fathoms, on a bottom' of 
shining sand, mixed with small black specks. A number of looms were 
killed, which being very good to' eat, were served to the officers and 
ship's company. A herd of sea-horses (Trichecus Roswiarus) being seen 
lying on a piece of ice, our boat succeeded in killing one of them. 
These animals usually lie huddled together, like pigs, one over the other, 
and are so stupidly tame, as to allow a boat to approach them, within a few 
yards, without moving. When, at length, they are disturbed, they dash, 
into the water in great confusion. It may be worth remarking, as a proof 
how tenacious the walrus sometimes is of life, that the animal killed to-day 
struggled violently for ten minutes after it was struck, and towed the 
boat twenty or thirty yards, after which, the iron of the harpoon broke ; and 
yet it was found, on examination, that the iron barb had penetrated both 
auricles of the heart. A quantity of the blubber was put into casks, as a 
winter's supply of lamp-oil. 
Wed. 7. On the 7th, in standing to the northward, we came to a stream of ice, three 
quarters of a mile wide, which obstructed bur passage in that direction. The 
wind died away as soon as we had entered the stream, and it required six 
hours' rowing in the boats to tow the ships into clear water beyond it. It is 
curious to observe, in passing under the lee of ice, however small its extent or 
height above the sea, an immediate decrease in thestrengthof the wind. This 
effect cannot be attributed to any degree of shelter afforded by the ice, as, in 
the cases to which I allude, it is, perhaps, not more than a single foot above 
the surface of the sea. At noon, being in lat., by observation, 68° 24' 52", and 
in long. 57° 00' 43", we obtained soundings in a hundred and seventy-five 
fathoms, on a bottom of greenish-coloured mud, into which the lead sunk several 
inches. At two P.M. a thermometer in the sun rose to 70°, the temperature of 
the shade being 44°, and the weather perfectly calm and cloudless. The card 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 13 

commonly used in Walker's Azimuth Compass had traversed so sluggishly for 1819. 
some days past, that it was now found necessary to substitute a lighter one, ^Jtr^ 
supplied by the maker for this purpose. The looms and tern were numerous 
near the ice. 

On the 8th, at noon, we observed, in lat. 68° 30' 01", and long. 57° 22' 37",Thurs. 8. 
being 6' 51 " to the southward, and 9' 53" to the eastward of the dead reckon- 
ing. We sounded in a hundred and seventy-eight fathoms' water, the bottom 
being of the same nature as on the preceding day. 

On the 9th, having reached the latitude of 68° 45' 53", long. 57° 49' 51", the Frid. 9. 
ship was found to have made less northing by eleven miles and three quarters 
than the log gave. The soundings were a hundred and fifty-two fathoms, the 
lead being covered with soft green mud, mixed with sand and gravel. 

Large flocks of tern and looms were seen about the ice. A northerly wind 
prevented our making much progress, for the ice was still so compact in every 
part as to render it impossible to penetrate to the westward ; and nothing, 
therefore, remained to be done but to make the best way we could, by beat- 
ing to the northward along the edge of the pack. 

On the 10th a thick fog came on, which made great caution necessary in Sat. 10- 
sailing, there being a great many icebergs near us. There is, however, even 
in the thickest fog, a strong reflection of light from these immense bodies of 
ice, which, with an attentive look-out, is generally visible at a sufficient dis- 
tance to enable the navigator, if in smooth water, to avoid coming in contact 
with them. 

At noon, the wind being still against us, we had only reached the lat. of 
69° 04' 28", being 9' 49" to the southward of the dead reckoning. The long, by the 
chronometers, was 58° 10' 30", being 23' 47" to the eastward of the account in 
two days. We obtained soundings in a hundred and sixty-seven fathoms, on 
a bottom of green mud,*Avith a little sand and gravel. At night the fog froze 
as it fell upon the rigging, making it difficult to work the ship among the ice. 
. A large bear (Urms MaritimusJ being seen on a piece of ice, near which we Sun. li. 
were passing this morning, a boat was despatched in pursuit, and our people 
succeeded in killingand towing it on board. As these animals sink immediately 
on being mortally wounded, some dexterity is requisite to secure them, by first 
throwing a rope over the neck, at which many of the Greenland seamen are 
remarkably expert. It is customary for the boats of the whalers to have two 
or three lines coiled in them, which not only gives them great stability, but, 
with good management, makes it difficult for a bear, when swimming, to put 



1^ VOYAGE FOE, THE DISCOVERY 

1819. his paw upon the gunwale, which they generally endeavour to do ; whereas, 
,.^1^^ with our boats, which are more light and crank, and therefore very easily 
heeled over, I have more than once seen a bear on the point of taking pos- 
session of them. Great caution should, therefore, be used under such circum- 
stances in attacking these ferocious creatures. We have always found a board- 
ing-pike the most useful weapon for this purpose. The lance used by the 
whalers will not easily penetrate the skin, and a musket-ball, except when 
very close, is scarcely more efficacious. 

We sounded at noon in two hundred and two fathoms, being in lat. by ac- 
count, 69° 24' 40", long. 58° 16' 42", without making any allowance for the 
current, which, for the three preceding days, appeared to have been setting 
the ships to the S.S.E., at the rate of from eight to thirteen miles per day. 

In the afternoon, on the clearing up of the fog, we found ourselves so sur- 
rounded by ice, in every direction, that it became necessary to stretch to the 
eastward, to avoid the risk of being again beset, a circumstance which might 
have occasioned a serious loss of time. A great number of seals were seen as 
we sailed through the ice, but very seldom two together. 

Mon. 12. The weather was again so thick on the 12th, that we could seldom see above 
three or four hundred yards. The sun being visible, however. Captain Sabine 
and myself left the ship, and ascended an iceberg, in order to obtain the me- 
ridian altitude, which gave us the lat. of 69° 42' 43", and which was 8' 20" 
to the southward of the dead reckoning, our longitude, by account, being 
57° 46" 13". Streams of the purest water were flowing from this berg, a luxury 
not so often enjoyed by seamen in any other navigation, and which is, per- 
haps, of essential importance in the preservation of health, were scurvy is the 
disease most to be apprehended. The fog froze so hard upon the sails and 
rigging during the night, that I believe some tons were shaken off in the 

Tues. 13. morning, to enable us to handle the ropes, and to work the ship with greater 
facility. The fields of ice and the icebergs must occasionally, during the 
summer, receive a considerable addition by this kind of deposit. Of the lat- 
ter when the fog had cleared away for a short time in the evening, we counted 
no less than sixty -two of large dimensions, at no great distance from us, be- 
sides a number of smaller ones. We were, at noon, in lat. by account, 70° 06" 32", 
and in long. 57° 33' 56"", having a hundred and forty -seven fathoms' water, on 
a muddy bottom. 

Wed. 14. The weather continued so foggy on the 14th, that very little progress could 
be made. We caught some fine specimens of the Clio Borealis, called by the 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 15 

sailors whales' food, and also of Beroes, which were very numerous near the jgjg 
surface of the water. July. 

On the 15th, the fog being still as thick as before, our latitude, observed on Thur. 15. 
an iceberg, was 70° 28' 52" ; while that observed on board by Lieut. Beechey, 
with Captain Kater's altitude-instrument, was 70° 27' 43", the difference accord- 
ing exactly with the bearing and distance of the iceberg from the ship. The 
longitude was 59° 11' 58", and the variation of the needle, as observed upon 
the ice, had increased to 79° 48' westerly. Mr. Fisher made an experiment 
on the specific gravity of berg-ice. Having formed a piece of this ice into a 
cube, whose sides measured sixty-eight lines, he floated it in a tub of sea- 
water, of the specific gravity 1.0256, and at the temperature of 33°, when nine 
lines remained above the surface of the Avater, being nearly one-eighth. 

On the 16th, in running along the edge of the ice with a fresh breeze from Frid. 16. 
the south-west, we passed the Brunswick, whaler, of Hull, beating to the 
southward. She crossed within hail of the Griper, and the master informed 
Lieutenant Liddon that he had, on the 11th, left a large fleet of fishing-ships 
about the latitude of 74°, unable to proceed farther to the northward. We had 
been stopped in a similar manner, and in the same place, on the voyage of 
1818, which renders it not improbable, that, at this period of the year, the 
same obstruction will generally be found to occur about that latitude. The 
annual experience of the whalers has, indeed, long ago, made it evident, that 
the facility with which a ship may sail up Davis' Strait, depends entirely 
upon the season at which the attempt is made. For the first fortnight in 
June, it i§ seldom practicable to get much beyond the Island of Disko, or 
about the latitude of 69° to 70°. Towards the 20th of that month, the ships 
usually reach the great inlet, called North-East Bay ; and, by the end of 
June, the ice allows them, though not without great exertion, to penetrate 
to the Three Islands of Baffin, which lie just beyond the seventy-fourth 
degree of latitude. From that time till about the end of August, the ice 
presents almost daily, less and less obstruction ; so that, if the object be 
simply to sail as far north as possible into Baffin's Bay, without regard to the 
capture of whales, there is every reason to believe that a ship, entering Davis' 
Strait on the 1st of July, may sail into the latitude of 74° or 75°, without 
meeting with any detention on account of the ice, and, perhaps, without 
even seeing the land till she arrive in a high latitude. 

On the 17th, the margin of the ice, appearing more open than we had yet Sat. 17. 
seen it, and there being some appeai-ance of a " water-sky" to the north- 



16 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

west, I was induced to run the ships into the ice, though the weather was 
too thick to allow us to see more than a mile or two in that direction. We 
were, at noon, in latitude 72° 00' 21", longitude 59° 46' 18", the depth of 
water being one hundred and ninety fathoms, on a muddy bottom. The 
wind shortly after died away, as usual, and, after making a number of tacks, 
in order to gain all we could to the westward, we found ourselves so closely 
hemmed in by the ice on every side, that there was no longer room to work 
the ships, and we therefore made them fast to a floe, till the weather should 
clear up. The afternoon was employed in taking on board a supply of water 
from the floe. It may be proper at once to remark that, from this time till 
the end of the voyage, snow-water was exclusively made use of on board the 
ships for every purpose. During the summer months, it is found in abun- 
dance in pools upon the floes and icebergs, and in the Winter snow was 
dissolved in the coppers for our daily consumption. The fog cleared away 
in the evening, when we perceived that no further progress could be made 
through the ice, into which we had sailed to the westward about twelve 
miles. We were, therefore, once more under the necessity of returning 
to the eastward, lest a change of v/ind should beset the ships in their 
present situation. Previously, however, to our return, we made some ob- 
servations, on the ice, for the variation and dip of the magnetic needle, 
the foi-mer of which was found to be 80° 55' 27" W., and the latten'84i° ;4<' 9". 
Sun. 18. A thick fog came on again at night, and prevailed till near noon on the 18th 
when we came to a close but narrow stream of ice, lying exactly across our 
course, and at right angles to the main body of the ice. As this stream 
extended to the eastward as far as we could see from the " crow's nest," an 
endeavour was made to push the ships with all sail through the narrowest 
part. The facility with which this operation, technically called "boring," is 
perfonned, depends chiefly on having a fresh and free wind, with which we 
were not favoured on this occasion ; so that, when we had forced the ships about 
one hundred yards into the ice, their way was completely stopped. The 
stream consisted of such small pieces of ice, that when an attempt was made 
to warp the ships a-head by fastening lines to some of the heaviest masses 
near them, the ice itself came home, without the ships being moved for- 
ward. Every effort to extricate them from this helpless situation proved 
fruitless for more than two hours, when the Hecla was at length backed out, 
and succeeded in pushing through another part of the stream in which a small 
opening appeared just at that moment. All our boats were immediately 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 17 

despatched to the assistance of the Griper, which still remained beset, and 1819. 
which no effort could move in any direction. We at length resorted to v^^J-^ 
the expedient of sending a whale-line to her from the Hecla, and then 
making all sail upon the latter ship, we succeeded in towing her out, head 
to wind, till she was enabled to proceed in clear water. The crossing of 
this stream of ice, of which the breadth scarcely exceeded three hundred 
yards, occupied us constantly for more than five hours and may ^eive as an 
example of the detention to which ships are liable in this kind of navigation. 
In the course of the afternoon, one of the Hecla's boats was upset by the 
ice, and Mr. Palmer, with all her crew, thrown out of her; but, by getting 
upon the ice, they fortunately escaped with no other injury than a thorough 
wetting. 

The wind having veered to the northward, we tacked ofF and on, beating Mon. 19. 
along the edge of the ice, in which no opening appeared, to encourage a 
hope of getting through it to the westward. At noon we had reached the 
lat. of 72° 31' 58", and long. 59° 03' 54'", our soundings being one hundred 
and forty-two fathoms, on a muddy bottom. In the afternoon, a ship 
running to the southward, and which we supposed to be one of the home- 
ward-bound whalers, passed us at the distance of seven miles. 

At noon, on the 20th, we were in lat., by account, 72° 57' 31 ", long. 58° 40' 57", Tue». 20. 
and the depth of water was one hundred and twenty fathoms, the bottom 
consisting of mud, with small black stones. At this time, the weather being 
perfectly calm, with a thick fog, we perceived that a current, setting to the 
S.S.W.,was drifting the ship towards a large iceberg in that direction ; and a 
quantity of floe-ice, which was driving the same way, threatened to enclose 
us between it and the berg. All the boats were instantly lowered, and sent 
a-head to tow, by which means we cleared the berg, just one minute before 
the floe-ice came forcibly in contact with it, surrounding it on every side. 
This iceberg was about one hundred and forty feet high in one part, and froiii 
the soundings we obtained near it, must have been aground in one hundred 
and twenty fathoms, so that its whole height was about eight hundred and 
sixty feet. The weather continued so foggy during the rest of the day, that 
it required our utmost attention to keep clear of the numerous ice-bergs which 
lay in our way. 

Early on the morning of the 21st, the fog cleared away, and discovered to wgd. 21. 
us the land called by Davis Hope Sanderson, and the Woman's Islands, 
being the first land we had seen invading northwards into Baffin's Bay, from 

D 



IS VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

181.9. the lat. of 63|°. We found ourselves in the midst of a great number of 
viiiX/ very high icebergs, of which I counted from the crow's nest, eighty-eight, 
besides many smaller ones. We tacked immediately to the westward, in 
order to take advantage of the only clear weather we had enjoyed for the 
last fourteen days, to examine the state of the ice, and observed at noon, in 
lat. 72° 58' 13", the long., by chronometers, being 58° 42' 11". The 
soundings were two hundred and twenty-eight fathoms, muddy-bottom, 
having deepened from one hundred and six, in sailing eight miles to the 
westward. 

Having now reached the latitude of 73°, without seeing a single opening 
in the ice, and being unwilling to increase our distance from Sir James Lan- 
caster's Sound, by proceeding much farther to the northward, I determined 
once more to enter the ice in this place, and to try the experiment of 
forcing our way through it, in order to get into the open sea, which the 
experience of the former voyage led me to believe we should find upon the 
western coast of Baffin's Bay. This determination was strengthened by the 
recollection of the serious obstructions we had met with the preceding 
year, in the neighbourhood of Prince Regent's Bay, where greater detention, 
as well as danger, had been experienced, than on any other part of that 
coast. Being now, therefore, favoured with clear weather, and a moderate 
breeze from the south-eastward, we ran into the ice, which, for the first 
two miles, consisted of detached pieces, but afterwards of floes of con- 
siderable extent, and six or seven feet in thickness. The wind died away 
towards midnight, and the weather was serene and clear. The altitude of 
the sun on the meridian below the pole, gave the latitude 72° 59' 13", being 
11' 57" to the southward of that deduced from the observations of the 
preceding and following noons, which error may, perhaps, be attributed to the 
elevation of the horizon by terrestrial refraction. The temperature of the air 
at this time was 40° ; of the water, 34°, and the barometer stood at 29.57 
inchfes. A large bear was seen on one of the floes, and we passed the tracks 
of many others. 
Thur. 22. On the 22d. the wind was light from the eastward, and we made very 
little progress. We had occasionally to heave the ships through with 
hawsers, between the heavy masses of ice, which became more and more 
close as we advanced, till, at length, towards the evening, we were fairly 
beset, there being no open water in sight from the mast-head in any quarter 
of the compass. Some hands were kept constantly employed in heaving 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 19 

the ships through the ice, taking advantage of every occasional opening 1819- 
which presented itself, by which means we advanced a few hundred yards ^yli,' 
to the westward during the night. 

At six, A.M., on the 23d, a thick fog came on, which rendered it impos- Frid. 23. 
sible to see our way any further. It often happens, in thick weather, that 
much distance is lost by ships taking a wrong " lead," as the channels 
between floes of ice are technically called; so that, on the weather 
clearing, it is discovered, when too late, that another opening, perhaps 
a few yards only from that through which they had sailed, would have 
conducted them into clear water. We, therefore, warped to an iceberg, 
to which the ships were made fast at noon, to wait the clearing up 
of the fog, being in lat. 73° 04-' 10", long. 60° 09' 07". The soundings 
were one hundred and ninety -seven fathoms, on a muddy bottom, and 
the variation of the needle 82° 33' 21" westerly. Some observations 
on the intensity of the magnetic force, by Captain Sabine, will be found 
in the Appendix. At eight, P.M., the weather cleared up, and a few 
small pools of open water were seen here and there, but the ice was 
generally as close as before, and the wind being to the westward of north, 
it was not deemed advisable to move. When ships are thus beset, there 
is a great advantage in securing them to the largest body of ice that can be 
found, and particularly to the bergs, as they are by this means better 
enabled to retain their situation, the drift of the ice being generally less, 
in proportion to its depth under water. Another advantage in securing a 
ship to an iceberg is, that these bodies usually keep a small space of clear 
water under their lee, in consequence of the quicker drift of the floes and 
loose ice to leeward. It not unfrequently happens that a ship is thus dragged 
into clear water, as the sailors express it, that is, that the whole of the 
floe-ice is carried to leeward past the berg to which the ship is attached, 
leaving her at length in an open sea. 

The ice appearing to open a little in the W.N.W., on the morning of the Sat. 24. 
24th, preparations were made for warping the ships in that direction, the 
wind being still to the westward of north, but the fog came on again so 
thick, that it was necessary still to remain at the berg. At noon, by our 
observations, we were in lat. 72° 59' 50", long. 60° 07' 54", making a drift 
of four miles and two-thirds in twenty-four hours, in a S. 1° E. direction. 
The soundings had deepened to two hundred and sixty-five fathoms, the 
bottom being light-green mud. The afternoon was occupied in obtaining 



20 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819 azimuths on board the Hecla, with her head on different points of the 

July, compass, in order to ascertain the amount of the irregularities of the magnetic 

needle produced by local attraction. These observations will be found in 

■ the Appendix, and by comparison with those previously made at Northfleet, 

will serve to shew in what degree the irregularities alluded to had increased 
with the increase of dip, and with the consequent diminution in the 
directive power of the earth's magnetism upon the needle. 

Sun. 2.5. The weather being clear on the morning of the 25th, and a few narrow 
lanes of water appearing to the westward, the Griper was made fast astern 
of the Hecla ; and her crew being sent to assist in manning our capstan, we 
proceeded to warp the ships through the ice. This method, which is often 
adopted by our whalers, has the obvious advantage of applying the whole 
united force in separating the masses of ice which lie in the way of the first 
ship, allowing the second, or even third, to follow close astern, with very 
little obstruction. In this manner we had advanced about four miles to the 
westward, by eight P.M., after eleven hours of very laborious exertion ; and 
. having then come to the end of the clear water, and the weather being again 
foggy, the ships were secured in a deep " bight," or bay in a floe, called by 
the sailors a " natural dock." An extra allowance of meat and spirits was 
served to the ship's companies, and all hands were permitted to go to rest 
till the state of the weather and of the ice should become more favourable. 

Mon.26. Early on the morning of the 26th, there was clear water as far as we 
could see to the westward, which on account of the fog, did not exceed the 
distance of three hundred yards. We made sail, however, and having 
groped our way for about half a mile, found the ice once more close in every 
direction, except that in which we had been sailing, obliging us to make 
the ships fast to a floe. I sent a boat away to endeavour to find a lane of 
clear water leading to the westward. She returned on board in an hour, 
without success, having with difficulty found her way to the ship, by our mus- 
quets, and other signals. The latitude here, by obsei-vation, was 73° 02' 17", 
long., by chronometers, 60° 11' 52", by which the drift of the ice in the last 
twenty-four hours appears to have been N. 1° E., five miles and three 
quarters, or in a direction nearly opposite to that of the wind. The 
soundings were two hundred and eight fathoms, on a muddy bottom. 
At half-past three, P.M., the weather cleared up, and a few narrow lanes 
of water being seen to the westward, every exertion was immediately made 
to get into them, , On beginning to heave, however, we found that the 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 21 

" hole" of water, in which the Hecla lay, was now so completely enclosed 18I9. 
by ice, that no passage out of it could be found. We tried every corner, ^,lij 
but to no purpose ; all the power we could apply being insufficient to move 
the heavy masses of ice which had fixed themselves firmly between us and 
the lanes of water without. In the mean time. Lieutenant Liddon had 
succeeded in advancing about three hundred yards, and had placed the 
Griper's bow between two heavy floes, which it was necessary to separate 
before any further progress could be made. Both ships continued to heave 
at their hawsers occasionally, as the ice appeared to slacken a little, by which 
means they were now and then drawn a-head a few inches at a time, but did 
not advance more than half-a-dozen yards in the course of the night. By our 
nearing several bergs to the northward, the ice appeared to be drifting in that 
direction, the wind being moderate from the southward. 

About three A.M., by a sudden motion of the ice, we succeeded in getting Tues. 27. 
the Hecla out of her confined situation, and ran her up astern of the Griper. 
The clear water had made so much to the westward, that a narrow neck of 
ice was all that was now interposed between the ships and a large open 
space in that quarter. Both ships' companies were, therefore, ordered upon 
the ice to saw off the neck, when the floes suddenly opened sufficiently to 
allow the Griper to push through under all sail. No time was lost in the 
attempt to get the Hecla through after her, but, by one of those accidents 
to which this navigation is liable, and which renders it so precarious and un- 
certain, a piece of loose ice which lay between the two ships, was drawn 
after the Griper by the eddy produced by her motion, and completely 
blocked the narrow passage through which we were about to follow. Before 
we could remove this obstruction by hauling it back out of the channel, the 
floes were again pressed together, wedging it finnly and immoveably 
betwixt them ; the saws were immediately set to work, and used with o-reat 
effect, but it was not till eleven o'clock that we succeeded, after seven hours' 
labour, in getting the Hecla into the lanes of clear water which opened more 
and more to the westward. Our latitude, by account at noon, was 73° 05' 56 ", 
the longitude 60° 24! 27". 

Being now favoured with a fresh breeze from the S.E.b.S., we made con- 
siderable progress, though on a very crooked course, to the northward and 
westward. In one respect the character of the ice was here altered, as we 
found a great many floes of " young" or " bay" ice, which had probably 
been newly formed in the sheltered situations afforded by the larger floes. 



m VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

To avoid the necessity of going round, or where no other channel presented 
itself, we ran through several of these bay-floes, which were from four to six 
inches thick, ploughing up the ice before the ship's stem, at the rate of five 
miles an hour. If they were not very broad, the Hecla did not lose her 
Way in passing through them. Frequently, however, she was stopped in 
the middle, which made it necessary to saw and break the ice a-head, till 
she made another start, and, having run a short distance in clear water, was 
again imbedded in the same manner. We passed one field of ice, about ten 
feet in thickness, and many miles in length, as we could not see over it 
from the mast-head. This was the only " field," according to the definition 

ir- applied to that term by the whalers, that I had ever seen in Baffin's Bay. 

About eleven P.M. the lanes of open water a-head became very contracted, and 
at half-past eleven, in endeavouring to force through a floe, under a heavy press 
of canvass, the Hecla was completely wedged in, having run her own length 
into it, though its thickness was between a foot and eighteen inches. In the 
course of this day's sailing, the ships received many severe blows from the 
ice, but apparently suffered no damage. The concussions which the chrono- 
meters experienced, were, perhaps, such as few watches of this kind had 
ever before been exposed to ; but we did not subsequently discover that any 
alteration had taken place in their rates, in consequence of them. n:, ,• 

Wed. 28. The wind continued to blow strong from the south-east with heavy-rain ;• 
and at half-past three A.M., after several hours' sawing, in which the men 
suffered much from wet and fatigue, we succeeded in getting clear ; but after 
' running a quarter of a mile, Avere again beset in the same manner. By the 
time the Griper had joined us, we had once more unavoidably hampered the 
Hecla among the ice, and did not succeed in extricating her till four P.M., 
after which we found so much clear water as we proceeded, that, with the 
exception of a few streams and " patches," which we met with on the 
following day, and through which the ships sailed without much difficulty, 
we had now passed every impediment which obstructed our passage to 
Sir James Lancaster's Sound. The breadth of this barrier of ice, which 
occupies the middle of Baffin's Bay, and which had never before been crossed 
in this latitude at the same season, was eighty miles, in a N. 63° W. direc- 
tion. I have been thus particular and minute, perhaps tediously so, 
in detailing our endeavours to obtain a passage through the ice to the 
western coast of Baffin's Bay, in order to shew how necessary it is to per- 
severe and not to be discouraged by frequent failures, nor deterred from 



'■;. f): 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 2^ 

entering the ice by the apprehension of being beset. By taking advantage 
of every little opening that is afforded, I believe that a strong-built vessel of 
proper size and weight may, in most seasons, be pushed through this barrier 
which occupies the centre part of Baffin's Bay, about this parallel of latitude. 
It must, at the same time, be confessed, that, had we not been favoured 
with strong south-easterly winds, it would probably have required several 
days longer to effect this passage. 

On the 29th, we had so much clear water, that the ships had a very per- Thur. 29. 
ceptible pitching motion, which, from the closeness of the ice, does not 
very often occur in the Polar regions, and which is, therefore, hailed with 
pleasure, as an indication of an open sea. At noon we had reached, by the i 

dead reckoning, the latitude of 73° 51' 17", and longitude 67° 47' 51 ", and 
we could find no bottom with three hundred and ten fathoms of line. At 
five P. M. the swell increased considerably, and, as the wind freshened up 
from the north-east, the ice gradually disappeared ; so that by six o'clock we 
were sailing in an open sea, perfectly free from obstruction of any kind. 
During the time we had been beset among the ice, the temperature of the 
air, in the shade, had varied from 28° to 38°, except in very clear and calm 
weather, when the thennometer had occasionally risen to 4<>i°. The tem- 
perature of the water had been almost uniformly from 31° to 33°, but 
soon after our leaving the ice this evening, it increased to 37°, which tem- 
perature continued for a run of sixty-three miles to the westward, and then 
fell to 32° and 33°, till we had entered Sir James Lancaster's Sound. 

At four A. M. on the 30th, two or three ice-bergs were in sight, being the Frid. 30. 
first we had seen since leaving the ice to the eastward. It is probable that 
these, together with some streams of ice which occurred in the afternoon, pro- 
duced the diminution in the temperature of the sea, to which I have alluded 
above, and which took place soon after noon on this day. The Griper detain- 
ing us considerably, and the sea being now sufficiently open to allow us to 
take her in tow, we hove-to at nine A. M. for that purpose. 

We now seemed all at once to have got into the head-quarters of the 
whales. They were so numerous that I directed the number to be counted 
during each watch, and no less than eighty-two are mentioned in this day's 
log. Mr. Allison, the Greenland master, considered them generally as 
large ones, and remarked, that a fleet of whalers might easily have obtained 
a cargo here in a few days. It is, I believe, a common idea among the 
Greenland fishermen, that the presence of ice is necessary to ensure the 



24) VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. finding of whales; but we had no ice in sight to-day, when they were 
J^J^ most numerous. At noon we observed, in lat. 74° 01' 57", being the first 
meridian altitude we had obtained for four days, and differing from the 
dead reckoning only two miles, which is remarkable, considering the slug- 
gishness of the compasses, and would seem to afford a presumptive proof 
that no southerly current exists in this part of Baffin's Bay. The longitude, 
by chronometers, was 75° 02' 14.". In the afternoon the wind broke us 
off from the N. N. W., which obliged us to cast off the Griper, and we carried 
all sail a-head to make the land. We saw it at half-past five P. M., being the 
high land about Possession Bay, and at the same time several streams of loose 
but heavy ice came in sight, which a fresh breeze was drifting fast to thie 
south-eastward. Sir James Lancaster's Sound was now open to the westward 
of us, and the experience of our former voyage had given us reason to believe 
that the two best months in the year for the navigation of these seas were yet 
to come. This consideration, together with the magnificent view of the lofty 
Byam Martin mountains, which forcibly recalled to our minds the events of 
the preceding year, could not fail to animate us with expectation and hope. 
If any proof were wanting of the value of local knowledge in the navigation of 
the Polar Seas, it would be amply furnished by the fact of our having now 
reached the entrance of Sir James Lancaster's Sound just one month earlier 
than we had done in 1818, although we had then sailed above a fortnight 
sooner, with the same general object in view, namely, to penetrate to the 
western coast of Baffin's Bay, where alone the North-west Passage was to be 
sought for. This difference is to be attributed entirely to the confidence which I 
felt, from the experience gained on the former voyage, that an open sea would 
be found to the westward of the barrier of ice which occupies the middle of 
Baffin's Bay. Without that confidence, it would have been little better than 
madness to have attempted a passage through so compact a body of ice, when 
no indication of a clear sea appeared beyond it. 

The Hecla's cables were bent, and the Griper's signal made to do the same. 
As we approached the land, the wind drew directly out of the sound, which is 
commonly found to be the case in inlets of, this nature, in which the wind 
generally blows directly up or down. A flock of white ducks, believed to be 
male eider-ducks, were seen in the afternoon, flying to the eastward. 
Sat- 31. - The wind increased to a fresh breeze on the morning of the 31st, whicli 
pi-evented our making much way to the westward. We stood in towards Cape 
Byam Martin, and sounded in eighty fathoms on a rocky bottom, at the distance 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. M 

of two miles in an east direction from it. We soon after discovered the flag- 
staff which had been erected on Possession Mount on the former expedition ; 
an object which, though insignificant in itself, called up every person imme- 
diately on deck to look at and to greet it as an old acquaintance. The Griper 
being considerably astern, I thought it a good opportunity to go on shore, 
in order to make some observations, while she was coming up. Captain 
Sabine and myself, therefore, left the ship, and landed in the same spot, 
near the mouth of the stream in Possession Bay, where observations had 
been made the preceding year. We found so much surf on the beach as to 
make it necessary to haul the boat up, to prevent her being stove. A 
number of loose pieces of ice had been thrown up above the ordinary high- 
water mark ; some of these were so covered by the sand which the sea 
had washed over them, that we were at a loss to know what they were, till 
a quantity of it had been removed. From the situation and appearance of 
these masses, it occurred to some of us that similar masses, found under 
ground in those spots called Kaltusw, in the islands near the coast of Siberia, 
might thus have been originally deposited. 

The land immediately at the back of Possession Bay rises in a gentle 
slope from the sea, presenting an open and extensive space of low ground, 
flanked by hills to the north and south. In this valley, and even on the hills, 
to the height of six or seven hundred feet above the sea, there was scarcely 
any snow, but the mountains at the back were completely covered with it. 
Tlie bed of the stream which winds along the valley is in many places several 
hundred yards wide, and in some parts from thirty to forty feet deep; but the 
quantity of water which it contained at this season was extremely small 
in proportion to the width between the banks, not exceeding forty feet on 
an average, and from one to three feet only in depth near the mouth of the 
stream. This feature is common in every part of the Polar regions in 
which we have landed ; the beds, or ravines, being probably formed by the 
annual dissolution of the snow during a long series of years. Some pieces 
of birch-bark having been picked up in the bed of this stream, in 1818, which 
gave reason to suppose that wood might be found growing in the interior, I 
directed Mr. Fisher to walk up it, accompanied by a small party, and to occupy 
an hour or two, while the Griper was coming up, and Captain Sabine and 
myself were employed upon the beach, in examining the nature and pro- 
ductions of the country. 

Mr. Fisher reported, on his return, that he had folio^wed the stream betsyieea 

E 



26 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. three and four miles, where it turned to the south-west, without discovering 
v^^-v-'L' any indications of a wooded country ; but a sufficient explanation respecting 
the birch-bark was, perhaps, furnished by his finding, at the distance of a 
quarter of a mile from the sea, a piece of whalebone two feet ten inches in 
length, and two inches in breadth, having a number of circular holes very 
neatly and regularly perforated along one of its edges, and which had un- 
doubtedly formed part of an Esquimaux sledge. This circumstance affording 
a proof of the Esquimaux having visited this part of the coast at no very distant 
period, it was concluded that the piece of bark, above alluded to, had been 
brought hither by these people. From the appearance of the whalebone, it 
might have been lying there for four or five years. That none of the Esqui- 
maux tribe had visited this part of the coast since we landed there in 
1818, was evident from the flag-staff then erected still remaining untouched. 
Mr. Fisher found every part of the valley quite free from snow as high 
as he ascended it ; and the following fact seems to render it probable that no 
great quantity either of snow or sleet had fallen here since our lasl visit. 
. Mr. Fisher had not proceeded far, till, to his great surprise, he encountered 
the tracks of human feet upon the banks of the stream, which appeared so 
fresh, that he at first imagined them to have been recently made by some 
natives, but which, on examination, were distinctly ascertained to be the 
marks of our own shoes made eleven months before. 

The only animals we met with were a fox, a raven, CCorvus Corax,) some 
ring-plovers, (Charadrius Hiaticula,) snow-buntings, and a Avild bee, (Apis 
Alpina.J Several tracks of bears and of a cloven-footed animal, probably 
the rein-deer, were also observed upon the moist ground. Three black whales 
were seen in the bay, and the crown-bones of several others were lying 
near the beach. Considerable tufts of moss and of grass occur in this 
valley, principally in those parts which are calculated to retain the water 
produced by the melting of the snow. Indeed, moisture alone seems ne- 
cessary to the growth of a variety of plants which are found in this dreary 
climate, and of which a detailed account will be given in the Appendix. 
Mr. Fisher, who had an opportunity of examining some of the fixed rocks, 
considered them to consist principally of basalt. A great quantity of lime- 
stone was found in the valley, together with pieces of granite, quartz, feldspar, 
trap, and sandstone. 

The latitude observed at the mouth of the stream was 73° 31' 16", and the 
longitude by the chronometers, 77° 22' 21", the latter differing only 1' 30" to 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. Sfif 

the eastward of that obtained on the same spot, by No. 509 of Earnshaw, 1819 
the preceding year. The dip of the needle was 86° 03' 42", and the variation J^!^ 
108° 46' 35", westerly, agreeing nearly with that observed by Lieutenant 
Hoppner, in 1818. At half-past ten A.M., when we landed, the tide was 
falling by the shore, and continued to do so till about half an hour before 
noon ; the surf on the beach, however, did not allow me to determine the 
time Avith very great precision. By the mean of our observations made now, 
and in the foregoing year, the time of high water on full and change days, 
would appear to be about a quarter past eleven. At two P.M., the water 
had risen two feet and a half, and the whole rise of tide, as nearly as we 
could judge from the marks on the beach, may be from six to eight feet. 
The stream certainly came from the northward and westward along the shore 
of the bay, during the time that the tide was rising ; and Lieut. Beechey 
observed, that, in running along shore, in a south-easterly direction, the 
ship seemed to go much faster by the land than she sailed through the water. 
It is more than probable, therefore, that the flood comes from the north- 
westward on this particular part of the coast. Near the spot on which we 
made the observations, a bottle was buried containing an account of our visit, 
and a pile of stones and earth raised over it. 

In approaching Possession Bay, the colour of the water was observed to 
change to a light green, at the distance of two or two and a half miles from the 
shore, but there was no other appearance of shoal water, and we could find no 
bottom with sixty and seventy fathoms of line, well within it ; we had four- 
teen fathoms, on a sandy bottom, at a cable's length from the beach. 

Having finished our observations, we returned on board, and made all sail 
for the Sound ; but the wind blowing still from the westward, the progress of 
the ships was but slow in that direction. The sea was perfectly free from 
ice, except a single berg, and one or two narrow though heavy streams, 
which offered, however, little or no obstruction to the navigation. 

Annexed is an abstract of the Meteorological Journal for the month of 
July. 



ABSTRACT of the METEOROLOGICAL JOURNAL kept on board His 


Majesty's Ship Hecla, at Sea, 


.- 




during the Month oi July, 1819. 






Temperature 
in shade 


of Mr 


Sea Water at the 
surface. 


Barometer. 


Prevailing Winds. 


Prevailing Weal' 


Day 
1 


iMaxi- 


Mini- 


Mean. 


Tempe- 
rature. 


Specific 
Gravity. 


Tempera- 
ture >rhen 
weighed. 


Masi- 


Mini- 


Mean. 


o 
39 


+ 
o 
34 


+ 
36.33 


33.2 


1.0260 


O 

53 


inclies. 
29.83 


inches. 
29.78 


inches. 
29.800 


W.S.W. 


Moderate breezes and fine. 


2 


37.5 


35.5 


36.25 


33.3 


1. 0.-60 


53 


29.78 


29.70 


29.753 


S.W. 


Ditto 


3 

4 
5 


35 
33 
33 


30 

30.5 

29 


33.33 
31.58 
30.83 


31.5 

30 

30.8 


1.02C0 
1.0261 
1.0260 


53 
51 
54 


29.61 
29.42 

29.48. 


29.10 
29.35 
29.35 


29.302 
29.387 
29.403 ; 


S.E. 
Calm 
West 


Moderate and cloudy. Sn' .' and rain 

at times. 
Occasional light airs from th northward. 

Fogffy weather. 
Light breezes and hazy. 


6 


38 


31 


34.42 


33.1 


1.0253 


57 


29.54 


29.42 


29.505 


S.W. 


Liglit breezes and fine. 


7 


46 


34 


39.83 


35.8 


1.0257 


57 


29.59 


29.51 


29.550 


5 A.M. S.S.E. 
t P.M. Calm 


Light airs and fine. 
Fine weather. 


8 


40 


34 


37.75 


37.2 


1.0260 


57 


29.68 


29.60 


29.029 


N orth 


Light airs and cloudy. 


9 


34 


30 


32.25 


32.7 


1.0254 


54 


29.74 


29.69 


29.721 


N.N.E. 


Light airs and cloudy, with snow. 


10 


32 


28 


30.00 


31.5 


1.0252 


.53.5 


29.80 


29.75 


29.787 


N.N.W. 


Light breezes and foggy 


11 


32 


26 


29.50 


30.8 


1.0256 


54 


29.77 


29.73 


29.761 


N.W. 


Ditto. 


12 


33.5 


28 


30.50 


32.1 


1.0252 


54 


29.66 


29.63 


29.037 


N.N.W. 


Moderate breezes and foggy. 


13 


32 


31 


31.67 


33.2 


1.0256 


55 


29.90 


29.72 


29.829 ' 


( A.M. N.N.W. ] 
[ P.M. Westerly, j 


Light breezes and foggy. 


1 ^* 


36.5 


28.5 


32.83 


34.2 


1.0256 


55 


29.90 


29.84 


29.878 


S.S.E. 


Ditto 


15 


31 


28 


29.83 


32.5 


1.0250 


5S.5 


29.91 


29.81 


29.875 


N.b.W. 


Light breezes and hazy. 


16 


30 


27 


33.00 


34.2 


1.0255 


59 


29.90 


29.76 


29.852 


S.S.E. 


Light breezes and cloudy. 


17 


34 


31 


33.50 


32.8 


1.0217 


5S 


29.84 


29.71 


29.783 


West 


Light breezes and foggy, ^\ ith rain. 


18 


33 


30.5 


32.00 


32.1 


1.0247 


56 


29.90 


29.79 


29.827 


5 A.M. S.W. \ 
I P.M.N.N.E. 5 


Light breezes and foggy, with snow. 


19 


34 


29 


31.00 


33 


1.0247 


56 


29.93 


29.90 


29.912 


North 


Light breezes and foggy, with small snow. 


20 


30 


27 


28.50 


32.2 


1.0250 


56 


29.84 


29.70 


29.791 


N.N.W. 


Light breezes and foggy. 


21 


42 


27 


37.67 


33.8 


1.0243 


58 


29.03 


29.56 


29.5S8 


5 From north round > 
<byeasttoS.E.bE.5 


Light airs; occasional calms. 


22 


45 


34 


39.75 


33 


1.0183 


58 


29.62 


29.58 


29.605 


East 


Light airs and fine clear weather. 


23 


36 


29 


31.50 


31.4 


1.0252 


55 


29.70 


29.62 


29.665 


N.W. b. W. 


Light breezes and foggy. 


24 


37 


31 


33.75 


31.4 






29.83 


29.60 


29.7.-,9 


N.N.W. 


Light airs and foggy. 


25 


40 


32 


35.42 


31.3 






29.89 


29.84 


29.870 


Westerly. 


Light breezes and fine clear weather 


20 


35 


28 


32.33 


31.9 


1.0185 


59 


29.85 


29.82 


29.838 


■ s-t 


Light breezes and foggy weather. 


27 


35 


33 


33.75 


32.0 






29.00 


29.74 


29.842 


S.E. b.E. 


Moderate breezes and hazy weather. 


23 
29 
30 


33 
37 

38 


33 
33 
33 


33.00 
34.25 
36.25 


31.7 
33.1 
34.8 


1.0240 
1.0242 
1.0255 


59 
59 
53 


29.71 
, 29.52 
29.54 


29.53 
29.49 
2^.51 


29.615 
29.507 
29.525 


S.E.b.S. 
East 

N.N.W. 


Fresh breezes and hazy, with continued 

heavy lain. 
Fresh breezes and foggy, with rain at 

times. 
Fresh breezes and fine. 


31 


43 


35 


37.08 


32.6 


1.0250 


65 


29.51 


29.50 


29.505 


N.W.b.W. 


Ditto. 




46 


26 


33.51 


32.68 






1 
29.93 


29.10 


29.687 




1 



>M™ M™" 



-^-r^ 



j4 itwnunient was erecteei 
I**:Niaj-The. ^liclaiess of the 
ofy the point at ■ wajj^ty^ 










CJSccdicu 

Liddon's 




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-J Taile lull-& 
Winter Haib°^ 




29 



CHAPTER II. 

ENTRANCE INTO SIR JAMES LANCASTER'S SOUND OF BAFFIN— UNINTER- 
RUPTED PASSAGE TO THE WESTWARD — DISCOVERY AND EXAMINATION 
OF PRINCE REGENTS INLET — PROGRESS TO THE SOUTHWARD STOPPED 
BY ICE — RETURN TO THE NORTHWARD — PASS BARROW's STRAIT, AND 
ENTER THE POLAR SEA. 

We were now about to enter and to explore that great sound or inlet which 
has obtained a degree of celebrity beyond what it might otherwise have been 
considered to possess, from the very opposite opinions which have been held 
with regard to it. To us it was peculiarly interesting, as being the point to 
which our instructions more particularly directed our attention ; and, I may 
add, what I believe we all felt, it was that point of the voyage which was to 
determine the success or failure of the expedition, according as one or other 
of the opposite opinions alluded to should be corroborated. It will readily 
be conceived, then, how great our anxiety was for a change of the westerly 
wind and swell, which, on the 1st of August, set down Sir James Lancaster's 
Sound, and prevented our making much progress. We experienced also 
another source of anxiety. The relative sailing qualities of the two ships were 
found to have altered so much, that we were obliged to keep the Hecla under 
easy sail the whole day, to allow the Griper to keep up with us, although the 
latter had hitherto kept way with her consort, when sailing by the wind. The 
ships stretched to the northward across the entrance of the sound, meeting oc- 
casionally with some loose and heavy streams of ice, and were at noon in lati- 
tude, by observation, 73° 55' 18", and in longitude, by the chronometers, 
77° 40'. Several whales were seen in the course of the day, and Mr. Allison 
remarked, that this was the only part of Baffin's Bay in which he had ever seen 
young whales ; for it is a matter of surprise to the whalers in general, that they 



I8I9. 
Auffust. 



Sun. ]. 



30 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. seldom or never meet with young ones on this fishery, as they are accustomed 

Ji^I!^* to do in the seas of Spitzbergen. 

The Griper continued to detain us so much that I determined on making 
the best of our way to the westward, that no more time than was necessary 
might be occupied in the examination of the bottom of Sir James Lancaster's 
Sound, provided it should be found to be an inlet surrounded by land. I 
was the more inclined to do this, from the circumstance of the sea being so 
clear of ice, as to offer no impediment to the navigation, which rendered it 
next to impossible that the two ships should not meet each other again ; and 
it seemed to me to be of considerable importance to obtain as early informa- 
tion as possible whether a passage did or did not exist there, as, in the latter 
event, we should have to proceed still further to the northward in search of 
one through some of the other sounds of Baffin; besides, the farther north we 
had to go, the shorter would the navigable season be to allow us to explore 
these sounds. On these considerations I ordered the Hecla to be hove to in 
the evening, and sent Lieutenant Liddon an instruction, with some signals, 
which might facilitate our meeting in case of fog : and I appointed as a place 
of rendezvous the meridian of 85° west, and as near the middle of the Sound 
as circumstances would permit. As soon, therefore, as the boat returned from 
the Griper, we carried a press of sail, and, in the course of the evening, saw 
the northern shore of the Sound looming through the clouds which hung 
over it. 

Mon. 2. It fell calm on the morning of the 2d, and at nine A.M., we sounded with 
the deep-sea clamms, and found one thousand and fifty fathoms by the line, 
on a bottom of mud and small stones ; but I believe the depth of water did 
not exceed eight or nine hundred fathoms, the ship's drift being considerable 
on account of the swell. It should be remarked, also, that where the sound- 
ings exceed five or six hundred fathoms, even in very calm weather, the 
actual depth must, in the usual way of obtaining it, be a matter of some 
uncertainty, for the weight of the line causes it to run out with a velocity 
not perceptibly diminished, long after the lead or the clamms have struck the 
ground. The clamms being now down, we were about to try the set of the 
current, by mooring a boat to the line, when the breeze again sprung up from 
the westward and prevented it. At noon we were in latitude by observation, 
74° 30' 03'., and in longitude 78° 01'., Cape Osborn bearing N. 79° W. 
distant forty-one miles. 

The weather being clear in the evening, we had the first distinct view of 




i^-'ez//f' ■yi!y/./'/(,y"r . I'. S6' M .'^ 




^l/UZ /^' i7i€ /ii^tiCll'iil cf- <y^ty/llJ ■^ilL'HCi//l£/ll . 




F. W:£eechry del. 



i/t^yi&i ^4i(^/ia;7i&/?^^-f. /c°/f. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 31 

both sides of the Sound, and the difference in the character of the two shores 1819. 
was very apparent, that on the south consisting of high and peaked moun- ^^^^' 
tains, completely snow-clad, except on the lower parts, while the northern 
coast, has generally a smoother outline, and had comparatively with the 
other, little snow upon it ; the difference in this last respect, appearing to 
depend principally on the difference in their absolute height. The sea was 
open before us, free from ice or land ; and the Hecla pitched so much from 
the westerly swell in the course of the day, as to throw the water once or 
twice into the stern windows, a circumstance which, together with other 
appearances, we were willing to attribute to an open sea in the desired 
direction. More than forty black whales were seen during the day. 

We had alternately fresh breezes from the westward, and calms on the morn- Tues. 3. 
ing of the 3d, when we had only gained eight or nine miles upon the Griper, 
which we observed coming up the Sound before an easterly wind, with all 
her studding sails set, while we had a fresh breeze from the westward. In 
the fore-noon we were between Capes Warrender and Osborn, and had a 
good view of Sir George Hope's Monument, which proved to be a dark- 
looking and conspicuous hill on the main land, and not an island, as it 
appeared to be when at a distance, on our former voyage. 

A solitary iceberg being near us. Captain Sabine, Lieutenant Beechey, 
and Mr. Hooper, were sent upon it to observe the variation of the needle and 
the longitude, and to take angles for the survey, a base being measured by 
Massey's log between the ship and the berg. We here obtained soundino-s 
in three hundred and seventy-three fathoms, the bottom consisting of mud 
and small stones, of which a small quantity was brought up in the clamms. By 
a boat moored to this instrument, a tide or current was found to set north 
65° E., at the rate of seven-eighths of a mile per hour; the variation observed 
upon the iceberg was 106° 58' 05" westerly. At noon, we were in latitude 
74° 25' 31", long. 80° 04' 30". 

Being favoured at length by the easterly breeze which was bringing up the 
Griper, and for which we had long been looking with much impatience, a crowd 
of sail was set to carry us with all rapidity to the westward. It is more easy 
to imagine than to describe the almost breathless anxiety which was now visible 
in every countenance, while, as the breeze increased to a fresh gale, we ran 
quickly up the sound. The mast-heads were crowded by the officers and men 
during the whole afternoon ; and an unconcerned observer, if any could have 
been unconcerned on such an occasion, would have been amused bv the 



32 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

eagerness with which the various reports from the crow's nest were received, 
all, however, hitherto favourable to our most sanguine hopes. 

Between four and six P. M., we passed several riplings on the Avater, as if 
occasioned by a weather tide, but no bottom could be found with the hand- 
leads. Being now abreast of Cape Castlereagh, more distant land was seen to 
open out to the westward of it, and between the cape and this land was per- 
ceived an inlet, to which I have given the name of the Navy Board's Inlet. 
We saw points of land apparently all round this inlet, but being at a very 
great distance from it we were unable to determine whether it was continuous 
or not. But as the land on the western side appeared so much lower and 
smoother than that on the opposite side near Cape Castlereagh, and came down, 
so near the horizon, about the centre of the inlet, the general impression was, 
that it is not continuous in that part. As our business lay to the westward, 
however, and not to the south, the whole of this extensive inlet was, in a few 
hours, lost in distance. 

In the mean time the land had opened out, on the opposite shore, to the 
northward and westward of Cape Warrender, consisting of high mountains, 
and in some parts of table land. Several head-lands were here distinctly 
made out, of which the northernmost and most conspicuous, was named 
after Captain Nicholas Lechmere Pateshall, of the Royal Navy. The 
extensive bay into which Cape Pateshall extends, and which, at the 
distance we passed it, appeared to be broken, or detached in many parts, 
was named Croker's Bay in honour of Mr. Croker, Secretary of the Admi- 
ralty ; I have called this large opening a bay, though the quickness with 
which we sailed past it did not allow us to determine the absolute continuity 
of land round the bottom of it ; it is, therefore, by no means improbable, that 
a passage may here be one day found from Sir James Lancaster's Sound into 
the Northern Sea. The Cape, which lies on the Avfestern side of Croker's Bay, 
was named after Sir Everard Home. 

Our course was nearly due west, and the wind still continuing to freshen, 
took us in a few hours nearly out of sight of the Griper. The only ice 
which we met with consisted of a few large bergs very much washed by the 
sea ; and, the weather being remarkably clear, so as to enable us to run with 
perfect safety, we were, by midnight, in a great measure relieved from our 
anxiety respecting the supposed continuity of land at the bottom of this 
magnificent inlet, having reached the longitude of 83° 12', where the two 
shores are still above thirteen leagues apart, without the slightest appear- 




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Z..'naon.TuMished 3j I . ifurraj , imi . 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. * 33 

ance of any land to the westward of us for four or five points of the compass. ^^^^• 

, . August. 

The colour of the water having become rather lighter, we hove-to at this 



time for the Griper, and obtained soundings in one hundred and fifty fathoms 
on a muddy bottom. The wind increased so much as to make it necessary 
to close-reef the sails, and to get the top-gallant yards down, and there was 
a breaking sea from the eastward. A great number of whales were seen in 
the course of this day's run. 

Having made the ship snug, so as to be in readiness to round to, should Wed. 4. 
the land be seen a-head, and the Griper having come up within a few miles 
of us, we again bore up at one A.M. At half-past three, Lieutenant Beechey, 
who had relieved me on deck, discovered from the crow's-nest, a reef of 
rocks, in-shore of us to the northward, on which the sea was breaking. 
These breakers appeared to lie directly off a cape, which we named after 
Rear-Admiral Joseph Bullen, and which lies immediately to the eastward 
of an inlet, that I named Brooking Cuming Inlet. As the sea had now 
become high, and the water appeared discoloured at some distance without 
the breakers, the Hecla was immediately rounded to, for the purpose of 
sounding ; we could find no bottom with fifty fathoms of line, but the Griper 
coming up shortly after, obtained soundings in seventy-five fathoms, on a 
bottom of sand and mud. We here met with innumerable loose masses of 
ice, upon which the sea was constantly breaking, in a manner so much 
resembling the breakers on shoals, as to make it a matter of some little 
uncertainty at the time, whether those of which I have spoken above, might 
not also have been caused by ice. It is possible, therefore, that shoal water 
may not be found to exist in this place ; but I thought it right to mark the 
spot on the chart to warn future navigators when approaching this part of the 
coast. That there is something out of the common way in this neighbour- 
hood, appears, however, more than probable, from the soundings obtained 
by the Griper, which are much less than we found them in any other part of 
the Sound at the same distance from land. 

At seven A.M., there being less sea, and no appearance of broken or dis- 
coloured water, we again bore away to the westward, the Griper having 
joined us about the meridian of 85°, which had been appointed as our place 
of rendezvous. Since the preceding evening, a thick haze had been hanging 
over the horizon to the southward, which prevented our seeing the land in 
that direction, to the westward of 87°, while the whole of the northern shore, 
though, as it afterwards proved, at a greater distance from us, was distinctly 

F 



34 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. visible. At noon, being in latitude 74° 15' 53" N., longitude, by chrono- 
\.-"v-H^ meters, 86° 30' 30", we were near two inlets, of which the easternmost was 
named Burnet Inlet, and the other Stratton Inlet. The land between 
these two had very much the appearance of an island. We rounded to, for 
the purpose of sounding, as well as to wait for our consort, and found no 
bottom with one hundred and seventy fathoms of line, the water being of a 
dirty light-green colour. The cliffs on this part of the coast present a sin- 
Wed. 4. gular appearance, being stratified horizontally, and having a number of 
regular projecting masses of rock, broad at the bottom, and coming to a 
point at the top, resembling so many buttresses, raised by art at equal in- 
tervals. This very remarkable constructure, which continues with little varia- 
tion along the whole of this northern shore, will be best understood by the 
accompanying views by Lieutenant Beechey, which, from the accuracy with 
' which the coast is delineated, will, I doubt not, be considered equally 
valuable by the geologist and the seaman. 

After lying-to for an hour, we again bore up to the westward, and soon 
after discovered a caf>e, afterwards named by Captain Sabine, Cape Felleoot, 
which appeared to form the termination of this coast; and as the haze, 
which still prevailed to the south, prevented our seeing any land in that 
quarter, and the sea was literally as free from ice as any part of the Atlantic, 
we began to flatter ourselves that we had fairly entered the Polar sea, and 
some of the most sanguine among us had even calculated the bearing and 
distance of Icy Cape, as a matter of no very difficult or improbable accom- 
plishment. This pleasing prospect was rendered the more flattering by the 
sea having, as we thought, regained the usual oceanic colour, and by a long 
swell which was rolling in from the southward and eastward. At six P.M., 
however, land was reported to be seen a-head. The vexation and anxiety 
produced on every countenance by such a report, was but too visible, until, 
on a nearer approach, it was found to be only an island, of no very large 
extent, and that, on each side of it, the horizon still appeared clear for 
several points of the compass. More land was also discovered beyond Cape 
Fellfoot, immediately to the westward of which lies a deep and broad bay, 
which I named after my friend, Mr. Maxwell, to whose kindness and unre- 
mitting attention, I am more indebted than it might be proper here to express. 
At eight P.M., we came to some ice of no great breadth or thickness, ex- 
tending several miles in a direction nearly parallel to our course ; and as 
we could see clear water over it to the southward, I was for some time in the 




\; 



^ 






,v 





Gn^iii^a/Uvt c^^Ae C'tuf^i^ {^aA^.m/6 c^^O- ^^ Me G.h>^crz'i</ 6^/ Cu/^e r^^.^^-/" 



Xondon. TaiUshed fy Z.MuTi^ciy, I<P2I . 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 35 

hope, that it would prove a detached stream, from which no obstruction to 1819. 
our progress westerly was to be apprehended. At twenty minutes past 



ten, however, the weather having become hazy, and the wind light, we 
perceived that the ice, along which we had been sailing for the last two 
hours, Avas joined, at the distance of half a mile to the westward of 
us, to a compact and impenetrable body of floes, which lay across the 
whole breadth of the strait, formed by the island, and the western point 
of Maxwell Bay. We hauled our wind, to the northward, just in time to 
avoid being embayed in the ice, on the outer edge of which a considerable 
surf, the effect of the late gale, was then rolling. A second island was dis- 
covered to the southward of the former, to both of which I gave the name 
of Prince Leopold's Isles, in honour of his Royal Highness Prince Leopold 
OF Saxe Coburg. Immediately to the eastward of these islands, there was 
a strong water sky, indicating a considerable extent of open sea, but a 
bright ice blink to the westward afforded little hope, for the present, of 
finding a passage in the desired direction. We saw to-day, for the first 
time, a number of white whales ; fDelphinus Albicans ;J guillemots, fulmar 
petrels, and kittiwakes, were also numerous near the ice. 

The easterly wind died aAvay on the morning of the 5th, and was sue- Thurs. 5. 
ceeded by light and variable airs, with thick, snoAvy weather. At noon we 
were in lat. 74° 19' 38", long. 89° 18' 40", the soundings being one hundred 
and thirty-five fathoms, on a muddy bottom. At half-past ten we tried 
whether there were any current, and if so, in what direction it might be 
setting, by mooring a boat to the bottom, with the deep-sea clamms ; but 
none could be detected. An hour before, the same experiment had been 
tried on board the Griper, when Lieutenant Liddon found the current to 
be setting east, at the rate of nine miles per day. While the calm and thick 
weather lasted, a number of the officers and men amused themselves in 
the boats, in endeavouring to kill some of the white whales which were 
swimming about the ships in great numbers ; but the animals were so 
wary, that they would scarcely suffer the boats to approach them within 
thirty or forty yards without diving. Mr. Fisher described them to be 
generally from eighteen to twenty feet in length ; and he stated, that he 
had several times heard them emit a shrill, ringing sound, not unlike that of 
musical glasses when badly played. This sound, he further observed, was 
most distinctly heard, when they happened to swim directly beneath the 
boat, even when they were several feet under wafer, and ceased altoo-ether 



36 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. on their coming to the surface. We saw also, for the farst time, one or two 
Ji^' .shoals of narwhals, (Monodon MortocerosJ called by the sailors, sea-unicorns. 
A steady breeze springing up from the W.N.W. in the afternoon, the ships 
stood to the northward, till we had distinctly made out, that no passage to 
the westward could at present be found between the ice and the land. 
The weather having become clear about this time, we perceived that there 
was a large open space to the southward, where no land was visible; 
and for this opening, over which there was a dark water-sky, our course was 
now directed. It fell calm again, however, in a few hours, so that at noon, 
Frid. 6. on the 6th, we were still abreast of Prince Leopold's Islands, which were so 
surrounded by ice, that we could not approach them nearer than four or five 
miles. . The appearance of these islands is not less remarkable than that of 
the northern shore of the strait, being also stratified horizontally, but having 
none of those buttress-like projections before described. The different strata 
form so many shelves, as it were, on which the snow lodges ; so that, imme- 
diately after a fall of snow, the islands appear to be striped with white and 
brown alternately. The northernmost island, when seen from the E.N.E., 
appears like a level piece of table-land, being quite perpendicular at each 
extreme. 

The Griper having unfortunately sprung both her topmasts, Lieut. Liddon 
took advantage of the calm weather to shift them. The Hecla's boats were 
at the same time employed in bringing on board ice, to be used as water ; 
a measure to which it is occasionally necessary to resort in these regions, 
when no pools or ponds are to be found upon the floes. In this case, berg- 
ice, when at hand, is generally preferred ; but that of floes, which is in fact 
the ice of sea-water, is also abundantly used for this purpose : the only pre- 
caution which it is necessary to observe, being that of allowing the salt water 
to drain off before it is dissolved for use. One of our boats was upset by^ 
the fall of a mass of ice which the men were breaking, but fortunately no 
injury was sustained. 

A breeze sprung up from the N.N.W. in the evening, and the Griper being 
ready to make sail, we stood to the southward. The land, which now 
became visible to the south-east, discovered to us, that we were entering 
a large inlet, not less than ten leagues wide at its mouth, and in the centre 
of which no land could be distinguished. The western shore of the inlet, 
which extended as far as we could see to the S.S.W., was so encumbered 
with ice, that there was no possibility of sailing near it. I, therefore, ran 



,y/^_i ,-y,'^//Ai-'/n/,?a^'^if yf^/^r^ V^tvv^r/'r^ ,_y^/<7m/.j. 




■y/ie^ \iy(/uff/M(-j'' (jc ^/i'//<-^ '^^yy/r'^t/j -Jj^^^iy.' , '",4v/?/-'^y .. '- '}2' /I . ' 




^/ra' r// ' '/'v'^ ^y^'r^/r//^''/ C^^fi<^' -^^-mt'//^ ',^yi/-et / /'taU^ cfcY^/// . 



London, TtLblCshed fy I.M'u.r-ra^, 1S21. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 37 

alonff the edge of the ice, between which and the eastern shore, there was 1819. 

• Auffust 

a broad and open channel, with the intention of seeking, in a lower latitude, ^^.^r^' 
a clearer passage to the westward than that which we had just been obliged 
to abandon lying between Prince Leopold's Isles, and Maxwell's Bay. The 
headland, which forms the western point of the entrance into this inlet, was 
honoured by the name of Cape Clarence, after His Royal Highness the 
Duke of Clarence ; and another, to the south-eastward of this, was named 
after Sir Robert Seppings, one of the Surveyors of His Majesty's navy. 

Since the time we first entered Sir James Lancaster's Sound, the sluggish- 
ness of the compasses, as well as the amount of their irregularity produced 
by the attraction of the ship's iron, had been found very rapidly, though 
uniformly, to increase, as we proceeded to the westward ; so much, indeed, 
that, for the last two days, we had been under the necessity of giving up 
altogether the usual observations for determining the variation of the needle 
on board the ships. This irregularity became more and more obvious as we 
now advanced to the southward. The rough magnetic bearing of the sun 
at noon, or at midnight, or when on the prime vertical, as compared 
with its true azimuth, was sufficient to render this increasing inefficiency 
of the compass quite apparent. For example, at noon this day, while we 
were observing the meridian altitude, the bearing of the sun was two points 
on the Hecla's larboard bow, and consequently her true course was about 
S.S.W. The binnacle and azimuth compasses at the same time agreed in 
shewing N.N. W. I W., making the variation to be allowed on that course, 
eleven points and-a-half westerly, corresponding nearly with an azimuth taken 
on the following morning, which gave 137° 12'. It was evident, therefore, 
that a very material change had taken place in the dip, or the variation, or 
in both these phenomena, since we had last an opportunity of obtaining 
observations upon them ; which rendered it not improbable that we were 
now making a very near approach to the magnetic pole. This supposition 
was further strengthened on the morning of the 7th ; when, having de- Sat. 7. 
creased our latitude to about 73°, we found that no alteration whatever in the 
absolute course on which the Hecla was steering, produced a change of 
more than three or four points in the direction indicated by the compass, 
which continued uniformly from N.N.E. to N.N.W., according as the ship's 
head was placed on one side or the other of the magnetic meridian. We 
now, therefore, witnessed, for the first time, the curious phenomenon of the 
directive power of the needle becoming so weak as to be completely over- 



38 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERV 

1819. eome by the attraction of the ship; so that the needle might now be properly 
Ji^!i^" said to point to the north pole of the ship. It was only, however, in those 
compasses in which the lightness of the cards, and great delicacy in the 
suspension, had been particularly attended to, that even this degree of 
uniformity prevailed ; for, in the heavier cards, the friction upon the points 
of suspension was much too great to be overcome even by the ship's at- 
traction, and they consequently remained indifferently in any position in 
which they happened to be placed. For the purposes of navigation, therefore, 
the compasses were from this time no longer consulted ; and in a few days 
afterwards, the binnacles were removed as useless lumber, from the deck to 
the carpenter s store-room, where they remained during the rest of the season, 
the azimuth compass alone being kept on deck, for the purpose of watching 
any changes which might take place in the directive power of the needle: and 
the true courses and direction of the wind were in future noted in the log- 
book, as obtained to the nearest quarter point, when the sun was visible, by 
the azimuth of that object and the apparent time. 

Being desirous of obtaining all the magnetic observations we were able, on a 
spot which appeared to be replete with interest in this department of science, 
and the outer margin of the ice consisting entirely of small loose pieces, 
which were not sufficiently steady for using the dipping-needle, we hauled up 
for the nearest part of the eastern shore, for the purpose of landing there with 
the instruments. We got in with it about noon, having very regularly decreased 
our soundings from forty to fifteen and a half fathoms ; in which depth, having 
tacked, at the distance of two miles and a half from the shore, two boats were 
despatched from each ship, under the command of Lieutenants Beechey and 
Hoppner, who, together with Captain Sabine, were directed to make the ne- 
cessary observations, and to collect whatever specimens of natural history the 
place might afford. They landed on a beach of sand and stones, having 
passed, at the distance of one mile from it, several large masses of ice aground in 
six to eight fathoms' water, which shoaled from thence gradually in to the shore. 
The officers describe this spot as more barren and dreary than any on which they 
had yet landed in the arctic regions ; there being scarcely any appearance of 
vegetation, except here and there a small tuft of stunted grass, and one or two 
species of saxifrage and poppy, although the ground was so swampy in many 
places that they could scarcely walk about. This part of the coast is rather 
low, the highest hill near the landing-place being found, by geometrical mea- 
surement, to be only three hundred and eighty-eight feet above the level of the 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 39 

sea ; and there was at this time very little snow remaining upon it. The fixed 1819. 
rocks near the surface consist chiefly of lime-stone ; but quartz, granite and v^v^' 
hornblende occurred in detached lumps, most of which were incrusted with 
a thin coat of lime. The bed of a small stream, which ran between two rocks 
of lime-stone, was composed entirely of clay-slate. The temperature of this 
stream of water was 42|°, that of the air, in the shade, being 51 1°, and of 
the earth, two or three inches below the surface, 34|°. At a short distance from 
the sea, Lieutenant Hoppner discovered a large mass of iron-stone, which was 
found to attract the magnet very powerfully. There were no traces of inha- 
bitants to be seen on this part of the coast. Part of the vertebrae of a whale 
was found at some distance from the beach ; but this had probably been carried 
there by bears, the tracks of Avliom were visible on the moist soil. The only 
birds seen were a few ptarmigans fTetrao LagopusJ and snow buntings. 

The latitude of the place of observation was 72° 45' 15", and its longitude, by 
the chronometers, SO^^l^S". The dipof the needle was 88° 26' 42", and the vari- 
ation 118° 23' 37" westerly. The directive powerof the horizontal needle, undis- 
turbed as it was by the attraction ofthe ship, was, even here, found to be so weak, 
in Captain Kater's azimuth-compasses, which were the most sensible, that they 
required constant tapping with the hand to make them traverse at all. At half- 
past one, when the boats landed, Lieut. Beechey found the tide ebbing, and 
it appeared, by the marks on the beach, to have fallen about eighteen inches. 
At fifty minutes past four, when they left the shore, it had fallen six feet and 
a half more, by which we considered the time of high water on that day to be 
about half-past twelve, and about twenty minutes past eleven on the full and 
change days of the moon. The whole rise of tide, being nearly the highest 
ofthe springs, appears to have been ten feet, and the ebb was found to set 
strong to the southward in-shore. A boat being moored to the bottom, at 
three miles' distance from the land, at five P.]\^. not the smallest current was 
perceptible. From these and several subsequent observations, there is good 
reason to suppose that the flood-tide comes from the south in this inlet. Be- 
fore the boats left the shore, a staff was erected on a hill near the landing- 
place, having a board nailed to it, on which the names of the ships and the 
date were painted ; and at three yards, in the direction of the magnetic north 
from the staffs, which may be distinguished with a glass at three miles' distance 
from the land, a bottle was buried, with a paper, containing an account of the 
time, and the object of our visit to this spot. 

As soon as the boats returned on board, we bore up to the southward, run- 



40 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. ning close along the edge of the ice, which led us nearer and nearer to the 
v>v%^ eastern shore, so that by midnight the channel in which we were sailing was 
narrowed to about five miles. The colour of the water had changed to a very- 
light green at that distance from the shore ; but we could find no bottom with 
fifty fathoms of line, and had thirty-five fathoms while rounding a point 
of ice at three miles' distance from the beach. The weather was beautifully 
serene and clear, and the sun, for the second time to us this season, just 
dipped below the northern horizon, and then re-appeared in a few minutes. 
Sun. 8. A dark sky to the south-west had given us hopes of finding a westerly 
passage to the south of the ice along which we were now sailing ; more espe- 
cially as the inlet began to widen considerably as Ave advanced in that di- 
rection : but at three A.M., on the morning of the 8th, we perceived that the 
ice ran close in with a point of land bearing S. b. E. from us, and which ap- 
peared to form the southern extremity of the eastern shore. To this extreme 
point I gave the name of Cape Kater, in compliment to Captain Henry Kater, 
one of the Commissioners of the Board of Longitude, to whom science is greatly 
indebted for his improvements of the pendulum, and the mariner's compass. 

With the increasing width of the inlet, we had flattered ourselves with in- 
creasing hopes ; but we soon experienced the mortification of disappointment. 
The prospect from the crow's nest began to assume a very unpromising ap- 
pearance, the whole of the western horizon, from north round to S. b. E., 
being completely covered with ice, consisting of heavy and extensive floes, 
beyond which no indication of water was visible ; instead of which there was 
a bright and dazzling ice-blink extending from shore to shore. The western 
coast of the inlet, however, trended much more to the westward than before, 
and no land Avas visible to the south-west, though the horizon was so clear in 
that quarter, that, if any had existed of moderate height, it might have been 
easily seen at this time, at the distance of ten or twelve leagues. From these 
circumstances, the impression received at the time was, that the land, both on 
the eastern and western side of this inlet, would be one day found to consist 
of islands. As a fresh northerly breeze was drifting the ice rapidly towards 
Cape Kater, and there appeared to be no passage open between it and that 
cape, I did not consider it prudent, under present circumstances, to run the 
ships down to the point, or to attempt to force a passage through the ice, and 
therefore hauled to the wind with the intention of examining a bay which was 
abreast of us, and to Avhich I gave the name of Fitzgerald Bay, out of respect 
for Captain Robert Lewis Fitzgerald, of the royal navy. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 41 

A boat from each ship was prepared to conduct this examination, and we 1819. 
stood in to drop them in-shore, but found, as we approached, that the bay was ;^)!^' 
so filled with ice, as to render it impracticable for any boat to land. I there- 
fore determined, as the season was fast advancing to a close, to lose no time 
in returning to the northward, in the hope of finding the channel between 
Prince Leopold's Isles and Maxwell Bay more clear of ice than when we left 
it, in which case there could be little doubt of our effecting a passage to the 
westward; whereas, in our present situation, there appeared no prospect of 
our doing so without risking the loss of more time than I deemed it prudent 
to spare. 

I have before observed that the east and west lands which form this grand 
inlet are probably islands: and, on an inspection of the charts, I think it will 
also appear highly probable that a communication will one day be found to 
exist between this inlet and Hudson's Bay, either through the broad and unex- 
plored channel, called Sir Thomas Rowe's Welcome, or through Repulse Bay, 
which has not yet been satisfactorily examined. It is also probable, that a 
channel will be found to exist between the western land and the northern coast 
of America; in which case the flood-tide which came from the southward may 
have proceeded round the southern point of the west land out of the Polar sea, 
part of it setting up the inlet, and part down the Welcome, according to the 
unanimous testimony of all the old navigators, who have advanced up the 
latter channel considerably to the northward. 

The distance which we sailed to the southward in this inlet was about 
one hundred and twenty miles, Cape Kater being, by our observations, in 
lat. 71° 53' 30", long. 90° 03' 45"; and I saw no reason to doubt the practi- 
cability of ships penetrating much farther to the south, by watching the 
occasional openings in the ice, if the determining the geography of this part 
of the arctic regions be considered worth the time which must necessarily be 
occupied in effecting it. The ice which we met with in the southern part 
of this inlet was much less broken into pieces than that to the northward ; 
and the floes, some of which not less than nine or ten feet thick, 
were covered with innumerable little round " hummocks," as they are 
called by the Greenland seamen, Avhich are perhaps first formed by the 
drift of the snow in particular situations, and which by alternate thawing and 
freezing, become as solid and transparent as any other part of the ice. 
This peculiarity I never remember to have remarked on the floes in Baffin's 
Bay, on which a carriage might travel without much inconvenience, except 



4S VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

H19- that which arises from the numerous pools of water found upon them in 
s.0-r^' the latter part of the summer. 

From latitude 73° to the farthest progress made to the southward, we 
found the soundings remarkably regular in approaching the eastern shore. 
The colour of the water was always observed to change to a beautiful light 
green before we could obtain soundings with a line of forty fathoms, which 
occur generally at the distance of four or five miles from the land; after which 
the depth decreases so gradually that the lead appears to be a safe guide. 
The bottom is principally mud, into which the lead sinks deep; but there is 
also some hard ground, and a few pieces of limestone were occasionally 
brought up by the lead. 

The directive power of the magnet seemed to be weaker here than 
ever; for the north pole of the needle in Captain Kater's steering compass, 
in which the friction is almost entirely removed by a thread suspension, 
was observed to point steadily towards the ship's- head, in whatsoever 
direction the latter was placed. It is probable, therefore, that the magnetic 
dip would have been found somewhat greater here than at our place of 
observation on the 7th ; and it was a matter of regret to me that the primary 
object of the expedition would not allow of another day's detention for the 
purpose of repeating the magnetic observations on this spot. 

Mon. 9. As we returned to the northward with a light, but favourable breeze, we 
found that the ice had approached the eastern shore of the inlet, leaving a 
much narrower channel than that by which we had entered ; and in some 
places it stretched completely across to the land on this side, while the 
opposite coast was still as inaccessible as before. 

On the evening of the 9th, a circular prismatic halo Avas seen round the 
sun, with a bright parhelion on each side at the same altitude with the sun. 
The radius of the circle was 23° 06'. Several black whales, and multitudes 
of white ones, were seen in the course of the day, also several narwhals 
and seals, and one bear. There was an iceberg in sight. 

Tues. 10. On the 10th, the weather was very thick with snow, which was afterwards 
succeeded by rain and fog. The compasses being useless, and the sun 
obscured, we had no means of knowing the direction in which we were 
going, except that we knew the wind had been to the southward before the 
fog came on, and had found by experience that it always blew directly up 
or down the inlet, which enabled us to form a tolerably correct judgment 
of our course. We continued to stand off-and-on near the ice, till the 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 43 

evening, when, the fog having cleared away, we bore up to the northward, '^^^■ 
keeping as near the western shore as the ice would permit ; but at eleven '.^^■^ 
P.M., we were stopped in our progress by the ice extending to the land 
on the eastern side of the inlet, which obliged us to haul our wind. This 
part of the coast is much higher than that farther to the southward, and the 
soundings near it are also considerably deeper. 

On the 11th, the weather was so thick with fog and rain, that it was Wed. 11. 
impossible to ascertain in what direction we were going, which obliged me 
to make the ships fast to a floe till the weather should clear up. There 
being abundance of the purest water in pools upon the floe, our supply of 
this necessary article was completed on board each ship, and in the mean 
time. Captain Sabine took the opportunity of repeating his observations 
upon the dip of the magnetic needle, the result of which, being 88° 25' 17 ", 
served to confirm those made on shore on the 7th. The repetition of such 
observations, which require considerable care and delicacy, is always satis- 
factory ; but was particularly so on this occasion from the circumstance 
already mentioned of having found at some distance from the place of 
observation on the 7th, a mass of magnetic iron stone, from which, or from 
other similar substances, it was possible that the needle might have sufiered 
some disturbance. Captain Sabine also made some observations here on 
the intensity of the magnetic force, which will be found in the Appendix. 
In the evening, the boats succeeded in harpooning a narwhal, to the great 
delight of our Greenland sailors, who take so much pleasure in the sport to 
which they have been accustomed, that they could with difficulty be 
restrained at times from striking a whale, though such a frolic would almost 
inevitably have been attended with the loss of one or more of our lines. A 
few kittiwakes and arctic gulls were flying about the ice. 

A breeze sprung up from the northward on the morning of the 12th, but Tburs.l2. 
the weather was so foggy for some hours that we did not know in what 
direction it was blowing. As soon as the fog cleared away, so as to enable 
us to see a mile or two around us, we found that the floe to which we had 
anchored was drifting fast down upon another body of ice to leeward, 
threatening to enclose the ships between them. We, therefore, cast off", and 
made sail, in order to beat to the northward, which we found great difficulty 
in doing, owing to the quantity of loose ice with which this part of the inlet 
was now covered. A remarkably thick fog obscured the eastern land from 
our view this evening at the distance of five or six miles, while the western 

G2 



44 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. coast was distinctly visible at four times that distance. We remarked, in 

•^^XJ standing off and on, near the main body of the ice, that the clear atmosphere 

commenced at a short distance from its margin ; so that we were enabled to 

obtain a few lunar observations near the edge of the ice, while, at the distance 

' of a mile to the eastward of it, the sun was altogether obscured by fog. 

This being the anniversary of the birth-day of His Royal Highness the 
Prince Regent, it naturally suggested to us the propriety of honouring the 
large inlet, which we had been exploring, and in which we still were sailing, 
with the name of Prince Regent's Inlet. 
Frid. 13. The weather was beautifully calm and clear on the 13th, when, being 
near an opening in the eastern shore, I took the opportunity of examining 
it in a boat. It proved to be a bay, a mile wide at its entrance, and three 
miles deep in E.b.S. direction, having a small but snug cove on the north 
side, formed by an island, between which and the main land is a bar of 
rocks, which completely shelters the cove from sea or drift ice. We found 
the water so deep, that in rowing close along the shore we could seldom 
get bottom with seven fathoms of line ; and, as time could not be spared to 
obtain the exact depth, the soundings in the annexed Plan are necessarily 
very imperfect. The cliffs on the south side of this bay, to which I gave 
the name of Port Bowen, after Captain James Bowen, one of the Commis- 
sioners of His Majesty's navy, resemble, in many places, ruined towers and 
battlements ; and fragments of the rocks were constantly falling from above. 
At the head of the bay is an extensive piece of low, flat ground, intersected 
by numerous rivulets, which, uniting at a short distance from the beach, 
formed a deep and rapid stream, near the mouth of which we landed. 
This spot was, I think, the most barren I ever saw, the ground being almost 
entirely covered with small pieces of slaty limestone, among which no 
vegetation appeared for more than a mile, to which distance Mr. Ross and 
myself walked inland, following the banks of the stream. Among the 
fragments, we picked up one piece of limestone, on which was the impression 
of a fossil-shell. We saw here a great number of young black guillemots, 
(Colymbus Grylle,) and a flock of ducks, which we supposed to be of the 
eider species. 

The latitude observed at the mouth of the stream was 73° 12' 11", and 
the longitude, by chronometers, 89° 02' 08". The variation of the needle, 
observed in the morning, at three or four miles' distance from the land, was 
114° 16' 43" westerly. From twenty minutes past eleven till a quarter after 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. M 

twelve, the tide rose by the shore six inches, and the high-water mark was 1819. 
between two and three feet above this : but we were not long enough on "^^^ii^' 
shore to form a correct judgment of the time at which high water takes place. 
About three-quarters of a mile to the southward of Port Bowen is another 
small bay, which we had not time to examine. 

Soon after I returned on board, a light breeze from the southward enabled 
us to steer towards Prince Leopold's Islands, which, however, we found to 
be more encumbered with ice than before, as we could not approach them so 
near as at first by three or four miles. The narwhals were here very numerous ; 
these animals appear fond of remaining with their backs exposed above the 
surface of the water, in the same manner as the whale, but for a much longer 
time, and we frequently also observed their horns erect, and quite stationary 
for several minutes together. Three or four miles to the northward of Port 
Bowen we discovered another opening, having every appearance of a harbour, 
with an island near the entrance ; I named it after Captain Samuel Jackson, 
of the Royal Navy. 

The whole of the 14th was occupied in an unsuccessful attempt to find an Sat. 14. 
opening in the ice to the westward, which remained perfectly close and 
compact, with a bright ice-blink over it. Our latitude at noon was 73° 35' 30 ", 
longitude 89° 01' 20", being in two hundred and ten fathoms of water, on 
a muddy bottom. Some water, brought up in Doctor Marcet's bottle from one 
hundred and eighty-five fathoms, was at the temperature of 34°, that of the 
surface being the same, and of the air 39°. 

The ice continued in the same unfavourable state on the 15th ; and being Sun. 15. 
desirous of turning to some account this vexatious but unavoidable detention, 
I left the ship in the afternoon, accompanied by Captain Sabine and Mr. 
Hooper, in order to make some observations on shore, and directed Lieute- 
nant Liddon to send a boat from the Griper for the same purpose. We 
landed in one of the numerous valleys, or ravines, which occur on this part of 
the coast, and which, at a few miles' distance, very much resemble bays, 
being bounded by high hills, which have the appearance of bluff headlands. 
We found the water very deep close to the beach, which is composed of 
rounded limestones, and on which there was no surf ; we then ascended, with 
some difficulty, the hill on the south side of the ravine, which is very steep, 
and covered with innumerable detached blocks of limestone, some of which 
are constantly rolling down from above, and which afford a very insecure 
footing. From the top of this hill, which is about six or seven hundred feet 



.46 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. above the level of the sea, and which commands an extensive view to the wes.t- 
Ji^^," ward, the prospect was by no means favourable to the immediate accomplish- 
ment of our object. No water could be seen over the ice to the north-west, 
and a bright and dazzling blink covered the whole space comprised between 
the islands and the north shore. It was a satisfaction, however, to find that 
no land appeared which was likely to impede our progress ; and we had been 
too much accustomed to the obstruction occasioned by ice, and too well aware 
of the suddenness with which that obstruction is often removed, to be at all 
discouraged by present appearances. 

On the top of this hill we deposited a bottle, containing a short notice of 
our visit, and raised over it a small mound of stones; of these we found no 
want, for the surface was covered with small pieces of schistose limestone, 
and nothing like soil or vegetation could be seen. We found a great quan- 
tity of madreporite among the lime, and at the foot of the hill I met with one 
large piece, of the basaltiform kind. Several pieces of flint were also picked 
up on the beach. The insignificance of the stream which here emptied itself 
into the sea, formed, as usual, a striking contrast with the size of the bed 
through which it flowed, the latter being several hundred feet deep, and two 
or three hundred yards wide. 

The latitude of this place is 73° 33'' 15" N., and the longitude by our chro- 
nometers, 88° 18' 17"; the dip of the magnetic needle was 87"^ 35'.95, and 
its variation 115° 37' 12" westerly. The tide was found to rise three feet from 
ten minutes past three till seven P.M. ; during the whole of which time the 
stream, within one or two miles of the shore, was carrying the loose pieces of 
ice to the southward, at the rate of about a mile and-a-half an hour. By 
observing the ships, however, at five miles' distance in the offing, I had reason 
to believe that they were set in the contrary direction, and that the current 
observed by us in-shore, was only an eddy, and not the true direction of the 
flood-tide. The time of high water here, on full and change days of the moon, 
will probably be about eleven o'clock. A very large black whale was seen 
near the beach, and a great number of seals, though seldom more than two of 
the latter together. We saw one, of the kind called by the sailors, " saddle- 
back," (Phoca GrcBiilandica.) 
Mon. 16. The wind was light on the 16th, with cloudy weather, and occasional fogs, 
and we scarcely altered our position, being hemmed in by ice or land in 
almost every direction. At five P.M., it being quite calm, we had a good 
opportunity of trying the set of the tide, which, by the preceding day's 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. -ff 

observations, we knew to be rising at this time by the shore. A small boat 1819. 
was moored to the bottom, which consisted of soft mud, in one hundred and ^J^X!^ 
ninety-one fathoms, by a deep-sea lead weighing one hundred and fifty 
pounds, and a current was found to be setting to the N.N.W., at the rate of 
a quarter of a mile an hour. This served to confirm the remark I had made 
the preceding day respecting the drift of the ships in the ofiing ; and, unless 
there be what seamen call a " tide and half tide," would appear to establish 
the fact of the flood-tide coming from the southward in this part of Prince 
Regent's Inlet. 

On the 17th, we had a fresh breeze, from the S.S.W., with so thick a fog, Tues. 17. 
that in spite of the most unremitting attention to the sails and the steerage, 
the ships were constantly receiving heavy shocks from the loose masses of 
ice with which the sea was covered, and which, in the present state of the 
weather, could not be distinguished at a sufficient distance to avoid them. 
On the weather clearing up in the afternoon, we saw, for the first time, a 
remarkable blufi^ headland, which forms the north-eastern point of the en- 
trance into Prince Regent's Inlet, and to which I gave the name of Cape 
York, after His Royal Highness the Duke of York. A little to the east- 
ward of Cape Fellfoot, we observed six remarkable stripes of snow, near 
the top of the cliff', being very conspicuous at a great distance, when viewed 
from the southward. These stripes, which are foniied by the drift of snow 
between the buttress-like projections before described, and which remained 
equally conspicuous on our return the following year, have probably at all 
times much the same appearance, at least about this season of the year, 
and may, on this account, perhaps, be deemed worthy of notice, as a 
landmark. 

At half-past ten A.M., on the 18th, it being quite calm, the small boat was Wed. 18. 
moored to the bottom, in two hundred and ten fathoms, by which means the 
current was ascertained to be setting W.S.W., at the rate of a mile and-a-half 
an hour ; and, from our preceding observations on the time of the tides on 
shore in this neighbourhood, it can scarcely be doubted that this was the 
ebb-tide. 

Mr. Crawford, the Greenland mate of the Hecla, being in quest of a 
narwhal in one of the boats, could not resist the temptation of striking a fine 
black whale, which rose close to him, and which soon ran out two lines of one 
hundred and forty fathoms each, when, after towing the boat some distance, 
the harpoon fortunately drew, and thus saved our lines. 



48 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. There being still no prospect of getting a single mile to the westward in 
^^^^ the neighbourhood of Prince Leopold's Islands, and a breeze having 
freshened up from the eastward in the afternoon, I determined to stand over 
once more towards the northern shore, in order to try what could there be 
done towards effecting our passage ; and at nine P.M., after beating for 
several hours among floes and streams of ice, we got into clear water 
near that coast, where we found some swell from the eastward. There 
was just light enough at midnight to enable us to read and write in the 
cabin. 
Thur. 19. The wind and sea increased on the 19th, with a heavy fall of snow, which, 
together with the uselessness of the compasses, and the narrow space in 
which we were working between the ice and the land, combined to make our 
situation for several hours a very unpleasant one. At two P.M., the weather 
being still so thick, that we could at times scarcely see the ship's length 
a-head, we suddenly found ourselves close under the land, and had not 
much room to spare in wearing round. We stood ofF-and-on during the rest 
of the day, measuring our distance by Massey's patent log, an invaluable 
machine on this and many other occasions ; and in the course of the 
afternoon, found ourselves opposite to an inlet, which I named after my 
relation. Sir Benjamin Hobhouse. The snow was succeeded by rain at 
night ; after which the wind fell, and the weather became clear, so that, on 
Frid. 20. the moming of the 20th, when we found ourselves off Stratton Inlet, we 
were enabled to bear up along shore to the westward. The points of ice 
led us occasionally within two miles of the land, which allowed us to 
look into several small bays or inlets, with which this coast appears in- 
dented, but which it would require more time than we could afford, 
thoroughly to survey or examine. The remarkable structure of this land, which 
I have before attempted to describe, is peculiarly striking about Cape Fellfoot, 
where the horizontal strata very much resemble two parallel tiers of batteries, 
placed at regular intervals from the top to the bottom of the cliff, affording 
a grand and imposing appearance. There is a low point running off some 
distance from Cape Fellfoot. which is not visible till approached within five 
or six miles. We passed along this point at the distance of four miles, 
finding no bottom with from fifty to sixty-five fathoms of line. Maxwell Bay 
isa very noble one, having several islands in it, and a number of openings 
on its northern shore, which we could not turn aside to explore. It was, 
however, quite free from ice, and might easily have been examined, had it 



Sat. 21. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 40 

been our object to do so, and time would have permitted. A remarkable 
headland, on the western side, I named after Sir William Herschel. August. 

At six P.M., when we had passed to the westward of Maxwell Bay, the 
wind failed us, and the opportunity was immediately taken to try the current 
by mooring the small boat to the bottom in one hundred and fifty fathoms. 
The tide was found to set W. 5 N., at the rate of a quarter of a mile per 
hour ; and at nine o'clock, when we tried it again in a similar manner, there 
was still a slight stream perceptible, setting in the same direction. The mud 
and small black stones, brought up from the bottom, consisted entirely of 
limestone, effervescing strongly with an acid. 

On the 2Ist we had nothing to impede our progress but the want of wind, 
the great opening, through which we had hitherto proceeded from Baffin's Bay 
being now so perfectly clear of ice, that it was almost impossible to believe it to 
be the same part of the sea, which, but a day or two before, had been completely 
covered with floes to the utmost extent of our view. In the forenoon, beino- 
off a headland, which was named after Captain Thomas Hurd, Hydrographer 
to the Admiralty, we picked up a small piece of wood, which appeared to have 
been the end of a boat's yard, and which caused sundry amusing speculations 
among our gentlemen ; some of whom had just come to the very natural 
conclusion, that a ship had been here before us, and that, therefore, we were 
aot entitled to the honour of the first discovery of that part of the sea on 
which we were now sailing ; when a stop was suddenly put to this and other 
ingenious inductions by the information of one of the seamen, that he had 
dropped it out of his boat a fortnight before. I could not get him to recollect 
exactly the day on which it had been so dropped, but what he stated was suf- 
ficient to convince me, that we were not at that time more than ten or twelve 
leagues from our present situation ; perhaps not half so much ; and that, 
therefore, here was no current setting constantly in any one direction. A 
bay, to the northward and westward of Cape Hurd, was called Rigby 
Bay. 

At nine P.M., the wind being light from the northward, with hazy 
weather, and some clouds, the electrometer chain was hoisted up to the 
masthead ; but no sensible effect was produced, either upon the pith-balls or 
the gold-leaf. A thick fog came on at night, which, together with the 
lightness of the wind, and the caution necessary in navigating an unknown 
sea under such circumstances, rendered our progress to the westward ex- 
tremely slow, though we had fortunately no ice to obstruct us. The 



Sun. 2-2. 



50 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

jgjg narwhals were blowing about us in all directions, and two walruses with a 
August, young one were seen upon a piece of ice. 

The fog clearing up on the following day, we found ourselves abreast a bay, 
to which the name of RadstockBay was subsequently given by Lieut. Liddon's 
desire, in compliment to the Earl of Radstock. This bay is formed by a 
point of land, on the eastern side, which I named Cape Eardley Wilmot ; 
and on the western, by a bluff headland, which was called after Captain 
Tristram Robert Ricketts, of the Royal Navy. In the centre of Radstock 
bay, lies an insular-looking piece of land, which received the name of 
Caswall's Tower. We now also caught a glimpse of more land to the 
southward ; but, owing to a thick haze which hung over the horizon in 
that quarter, the continuity of land on a great part of that coast, to 
the westward of Cape Clarence, remained, for the present, undetermined. 
Immediately to the westward of us, we discovered more land, occupying 
several points of the horizon, Avhich renewed in us considerable appre- 
hension, lest we should still find no passage open into the Polar sea. As we 
advanced slowly to the westward, the land on which Cape Ricketts stands, ap- 
peared to be nearly insular ; and, immediately to the westward of it, we disco- 
vered a considerable opening, which we called Gascoyne's Inlet, after General 
Gascoyne, and which I should have been glad to examine in a boat, had time 
permitted. In the afternoon, the weather became very clear and fine, the wind 
being light from the westward. As this latter circumstance rendered our progress 
very slow, the opportunity was taken to despatch the boats on shore, for the 
purpose of making observations ; and at the same time, a boat from each ship, 
under the respective command of Lieutenants Beechey and Hoppner, was sent 
to examine a bay, at no great distance to the northward and westward 
of us. The first party landed at the foot of a bluff headland, which forais the 
eastern point of this bay, and which I named after my friend Mr. Richard Riley, 
of the Admiralty. They had scarcely landed ten minutes, when a fresh breeze 
unexpectedly sprung up from the eastward, and their signal of recall was 
immediately made. They were only, therefore, enabled to obtain a part of 
the intended observations, by which the latitude was found to be 74° 39' 51", 
the longitude 91° 47" 36".8, and the variation of the magnetic needle 
128° 58' 07" westerly. The cliffs on this part of the coast were observed to 
consist almost entirely of secondary limestone, in which fossils were abun- 
dantly found. There was little or no vegetation in those parts which ouir 
gentlemen had an opportunity of examining during their short excursion ; but 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE'. M 

as a quantity of the dung of rein-deer was brought on board, the interior of 181^. 
the country cannot be altogether unproductive. One or two specimens of the ^^^li^ 
silvery gull, fLarus Argentatus,) and of the Lams Glaucus, with the young of 
the latter alive, were obtained by Captain Sabine ; and five black whales 
were seen near the beach. 

Lieutenant Beechey found that the land, which at this time formed the 
western extreme, and which lies on the side of the bay, opposite to 
Cape Riley, was an island; to which I, therefore, gave the name of Beechey 
Island, out of respect to Sir William Beechey. Immediately off Cape Riley, 
runs a low jjoint, which had some appearance of shoal-water near it, 
there being a strong ripple on the surface ; but Lieutenant Hoppner re- 
ported, that he could find no bottom with thirty-nine fathoms, at the distance 
of two hundred yards from it. 

As soon as the boats returned, all sail was made to the westward, where 
the prospect began to wear a more and more interesting appearance. We 
soon perceived, as we proceeded, that the land, along which we were 
sailing, and which, with the exception of some small inlets, had appeared 
to be hitherto continuous from Baffin's Bay, began now to trend much 
to the northward, beyond Beechey Island, leaving a large open space be- 
tween that coast and the distant land to the westward, which now appeared 
like an island, of which the extremes to the north and south Were distinctly 
visible. The latter was a remarkable headland,having at its extremity two small 
table hills, somewhat resembling boats turned bottom upwards, and was named 
Cape Hotham, after Rear- Admiral the Honourable Sir Henry Hotham, one of 
the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. At sunset we had a clear and 
extensive view to the northward, between Cape Hotham and the eastern 
land. On the latter several headlands were discovered and named ; between 
the northernmost of these, called Cape Bowden, and the island to the west- 
ward, there was a channel of more than eight leagues in width, in which 
neither land nor ice could be seen from the mast-head. To this noble 
channel I gave the name of Wellington, after his Grace the Master-General 
of the Ordnance. The arrival off this grand opening was an event for which 
we had long been looking with much anxiety and impatience ; for, the con- 
tinuity of land to the northward had always been a source of uneasiness to 
us, principally from the possibility that it might take a turn to the southward 
and unite with the coast of America. The appearance of this broad 
opening, free from ice, and of the land on each side of it, more especially 



52 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. that on the west, leaving scarcely a doubt on our minds of the latter being an 
Ji^Iilj island, relieved us from all anxiety on that score ; and every one felt that we 
were now finally disentangled from the land which forms the western side of 
Baffin's Bay ; and that, in fact, we had actually entered the Polar sea. Fully im- 
pressed with this idea, I ventured to distinguish themagnificentopeningthrough 
which our passage had been effected from Baffin's bay to Wellington channel, 
by the name of Barrow's Strait, after my friend, Mr. Barrow, Secretary of the 
Admiralty ; both as a private testimony of my esteem for that gentleman, and 
as a public acknowledgment due to him for his zeal and exertions in the 
promotion of Northern Discovery. To the land on which Cape Hotham is 
situated, and whicl^ is the easternmost of the group of islands,) as we found 
them to be by subsequent discovery,) in the Polar sea, I gave the name of 
CoRNWALLis Island, after Admiral the Honourable Sir William Cornwallis, 
my first naval friend and patron ; and an inlet, seven miles to the northward 
of Cape Hotham, was called Barlow Inlet, as a testimony of my respect for 
Sir Robert Barlow, one of the Commissioners of His Majesty's navy. 

Though two-thirds of the month of August had now elapsed, I had every 
reason to be satisfied with the progress which we had hitherto made. I cal- 
culated upon the sea being still navigable for six weeks to come, and pro- 
bably more if the state of the ice would permit us to edge away to the south- 
ward in our progress westerly: our prospects, indeed, were truly exhila- 
rating ; the ships had suffered no injury ; we had plenty of provisions ; 
crews in high health and spirits ; a sea, if not open, at least navigable ; and 
a zealous and unanimous determination in both officers and men to ac- 
complish, by all possible means, the grand object on which we had the hap- 
piness to be employed. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 53 



CHAPTER III. 



FAVOURABLE APPEARANCES OF AN OPEN WESTERLY PASSAGE — LAND TO THE 
NORTHWARD, A SERIES OF ISLANDS — GENERAL APPEARANCE OF THEM — 
MEET WITH SOME OBSTRUCTION FROM LOW ISLANDS SURROUNDED WITH 
ICE — REMAINS OP ESQUIMAUX HUTS, AND NATURAL PRODUCTIONS OF BYAM 

MARTIN ISLAND TEDIOUS NAVIGATION FROM FOGS AND ICE — DIFFICULTY OF 

STEERING A PROPER COURSE ARRIVAL AND LANDING ON MELVILLE ISLAND 

— PROCEED TO THE WESTWARD, AND REACH THE MERIDIAN OF 110° W. 
LONG., THE FIRST STAGE IN THE SCALE OF REWARDS GRANTED BY ACT 
OF PARLIAMENT. 

1819. 

A CALM which prevailed during the night kept us nearly stationary off August. 
Beechey Island till three A.M. on the 23d, when a fresh breeze sprung up Mon. 23. 
from the northward, and all sail was made for Cape Hotham, to the south- 
ward of which it was now my intention to seek a direct passage towards 
Behring's Strait. Wellington channel, to the northward of us, was as open 
and navigable, to the utmost extent of our view, as any part of the Atlantic, 
but as it lay at right angles to our course, and there was still an opening at 
least ten leagues wide to the southward of Cornwallis Island, I could fortu- 
nately have no hesitation in deciding which of the two it was our business to 
pursue. If, however, the sea to the westward, which was our direct course, had 
been obstructed by ice, and the wind had been favourable, such was the tempt- 
ing appearance of Wellington channel, in which there was no visible impedi- 
ment, that I should probably have been induced to run through it, as a degree 
more or less to the northward made little or no difference in the distance we 
had to run to Icy Cape. The open channel to the westward did not, how- 



54f VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. ever, reduce me to this dilemma. It is impossible to conceive any thing 
J^^^' more animating than the quick and unobstructed run with which we were 
favoured, from Beechey Island across to Cape Hotham. Most m«n have, 
probably, at one time or another, experienced that elevation of spirits which 
is usually produced by rapid motion of any kind; and it will readily be con- 
ceived how much this feeling was heightened in us, in the few instances in 
which it occurred, by the slow and tedious manner in which the greater part 
of our navigation had been perfonned in these seas. Our disappointment 
may therefore be imagined, when, in the midst of these favourable appear- 
ances, and of the hope with which they had induced us to flatter our- 
selves, it was suddenly and unexpectedly reported from the crow's- 
nest, that a body of ice lay directly across the passage between Cornwallis 
Island and the land to the southward. As we approached this obstruction, 
which commenced about Cape Hotham, we found that there was, for the 
present, no opening in it through which a passage could be attempted. 
After lying to for an hour, however, Lieutenant Beechey discovered from the 
crow's-nest, that one narrow neck appeared to consist of loose pieces of 
heavy ice detached from the main floes which composed the barrier, and that, 
beyond this, there was a considerable extent of open water. The Hecla was 
immediately pushed into this part of the ice, and, after a quarter of an hour's 
" boring," during which the breeze had, as usual, nearly deserted us, suc- 
ceeded in forcing her way through the neck. The Griper followed in the 
opening which the Hecla had made, and we continued our course to the 
westward, having once more a navigable sea before us. 

We now remarked, that a very decided change had taken place in the 
character of the land to the northward of us since leaving Beechey Island ; 
the coast near the latter being bold and precipitous next the sea, with very 
deep water close to it, while the shores of Cornwallis Island rise with a 
gradual ascent from a beach which appeared to be composed of sand. During 
the forenoon we passed several riplings on the surface of the water, which 
were probably occasioned by the set of the tides round each end of Corn- 
wallis Island, as we found a depth of ninety-five fathoms. An opening was 
seen in the southern land, which I distinguished by the name of Cunning- 
ham Inlet, after Captain Charles Cunningham of the Royal Navy, resident 
Commissioner at Deptford and Woolwich, to whose kindness and attention . 
we were much indebted during the equipment of the ships for this service. A 
bluff' and remarkable cape, which forms the eastern point of Cunningham 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 55 

Inlet obtained, by Lieutenant Hoppner's desire, the name of Cape Gifford, 1819. 
out of respect to his friend, Mr. Gifford, a gentleman well known and highly ^^^^' 
respected, as he deserves to be, in the literary world. To the eastward of 
Cape Gifford, a thick haze covered the horizon, and it prevented us from 
seeing more land in that direction ; so that its continuity from hence to Cape 
Clarence still remained undetermined, while, to the westward, it seemed to 
be terminated rather abruptly by a headland, which I distinguished by the 
name of Cape Bunny. 

At noon, we had reached the longitude of 94° 43' 15", the latitude, by 
observation, being 74° 20' 52", when we found that the land which then 
formed the western extreme on this side was a second island, which, 
after Rear-Admiral Edavard Griffith, I called Griffith Island. Imme- 
diately opposite to this, upon Cornwallis Island, is a conspicuous headland, 
which, at some distance, has the appearance of being detached, but which, 
on a nearer approach, was found to be joined by a piece of low land. To 
this I gave the name of Cape Martyr, after a much esteemed friend. At 
two P.M., having reached the longitude of 95° 07', we came to some heavy 
and extensive floes of ice, which obliged us to tack, there being no passage 
between them. We beat to the northward during the whole of the after- 
noon, with a fresh breeze from that quarter, in the hope of finding a 
narrow channel under the lee of Griffith Island. In this expectation we 
were, however, disappointed, for, at eight P.M., we were near enough to 
perceive not only that the ice was quite close to the shore, but that it 
appeared not to have been detached from it at all during this season. We, 
therefore, bore up, and ran again to the southward, where the sea by this 
time had become rather more clear along the lee margin of a large field of 
ice extending far to the westward. The ice in this neighbourhood was 
covered with innumerable " hummocks," such as I have before endea- 
voured to describe as occurring in the southern part of Prince Regent's 
Inlet, and the floes were from seven to ten feet in thickness. It may bete 
be remarked, as a fact not altogether unworthy of notice, that, from the 
time of our entering Sir James Lancaster's Sound, till we had passed the 
meridian of 92°, near which the northern shore of Barrow's Strait ceases to 
be continuous, the wind, as is commonly the case in inlets of this kind, 
had invariably blown in a direction nearly due east or due west, being that 
of the shores of the strait. When, therefore, we experienced to-day, for 
the first time, a fresh breeze blowing steadily from the northward, or 



5S VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. directly off the land, we were willing, though perhaps without much reason, 
v,*^^ to construe this circumstance into an additional indication of the shores 



near which we were now sailing being altogether composed of islands, down 
the channels between which the wind blew, and that therefore no obstruction 
from continued land was any longer to be apprehended. 

After various unsuccessful attempts to get through the ice which now lay 
in our way, we were at length so fortunate as to accomplish this object by 
" boring" through several heavy " streams," which occasioned the ships to 
receive many severe shocks ; and, at half an hour before midnight, we were 
enabled to pursue our course, through "sailing ice,'' to the westward. 
Tues. 24. A fog came on, on the morning of the 24th, which once more reduced us 
to the necessity of depending on the steadiness of the wind for a knowledge 
of the direction in which we were steering, or of having recourse to the 
unpleasant alternative of heaving to, till the weather should become clear. 
The former Avas, of course, preferred, and we pushed on with all the canvass 
which the Griper's bad sailing would allow us to carry, using the very 
necessary precaution of keeping the hand-leads constantly going. We 
passed one field of ice, of immense length, the distance which we ran 
along it, without meeting a single break in it, being, according to the 
report of the officers, from eight to ten miles, and its general thickness 
about eight feet. In this manner we had sailed between fifteen and twenty 
miles in a tolerably clear sea, when, on the fog clearing away, at seven 
A.M., we found, by the bearings of the sun, that the wind had not deceived 
us, and that we had made nearly all westing during the night's run. We 
also saw land to the northward of us, at the distance of nine or ten miles, 
appearing like an island, which it afterwards proved to be, and which I 
named after Viscount Lowther, one of the lords of His Majesty's treasury. 
Shortly after, we also saw land to the south, so that we could not but consider 
ourselves fortunate in having steered so directly in the proper course for 
sailing in this channel during the continuance of the foggy weather. The 
land to the southward was high and bold, being terminated to the eastward 
by a bluff headland, which I named after Mr. Walker, of the Hydrographical 
Office, at the Admiralty. Immediately at the back of Cape Walker, or to the 
southward of it, the loom of land was distinctly visible, but, from the state of 
Ihe weather, we could not ascertain its extent. We here obtained soundings 
in sixty-three fathoms, on g, bottom of sand and small stones, with some pieces 
of coral. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. -.S^ 

The wind, drawing more to the westward soon after the clearing up of 1819. 
the fog, obliged us to beat to windward during the rest of the day between ^^^li^' 
the two lands, that to the southward being loaded with ice, while the 
shores of Lowther Island were perfectly clear and accessible. As we 
stood in towards the south-west point of the island, in the afternoon, we 
found the water deepen from sixty-five to seventy-six fathoms, the latter 
soundings being at the distance of two miles and a half from the shore : 
and, in standing off again to the south-westward, came rather unexpectedly to 
a low sandy-looking island, having a great deal of heavy ice aground near 
it; to this I gave the name of Young's Island, after Dr. Thomas Young, 
Secretary to the Board of Longitude. We tacked in thirty-four fathoms 
at three miles' distance from this island; and, from the quantity of heavy 
ice near it, which is a never-failing beacon in these seas, it seems more than 
probable that it is surrounded by shoal water. 

It now became evident that all the land around us consisted of islands, and 
the comparative shoaliness of the water made great caution necessary in pro- 
ceeding, surrounded as we were by both land and ice in almost every direction. 

In the course of the evening, more land came in sight to the northward ; 
but the distance was at this time too great to enable us to distinguish its 
situation and extent. 

Early on the following morning, Lieutenant Beechey discovered, from the Wed. 25. 
crow's nest, a second low island, resembling Young's Island in size and 
appearance, and lying between three and four leagues to the northward 
of it. I gave it the name of Davy Island, after Sir Humphry Davy, now 
President of the Royal Society. The nearest land which we had seen to 
the northward, on the preceding evening, proved to be another island, 
four or five miles long from east to west, which I distinguished by the name 
of Garrett Island, out of respect to my much-esteemed friend Captain 
Henry Garrett, of the royal navy, to whose kind offices and friendly 
attention during the time of our equipment, I must ever feel highly 
indebted. The land to the northward of Garrett Island was found to be 
another island of considerable extent, having, towards its eastern end, a remark- 
able peaked hillock, very conspicuous when seen from the southward. 
I named this Bathurst Island, in honour of the Earl of Bathurst, one of 
His Majesty's principal secretaries of state, and a bay near its south-eastern 
point, was called Bedford Bay. 

The islands which we had discovered during this day's navigation, among 



58 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. which I have not ventured to include the land to the southward of Lowther 
^^^li^' Island, of which we obtained a very imperfect view, are generally of a 
moderate height, not exceeding perhaps four or five hundred feet above 
the level of the sea. With the exception of some parts of Bathurst Island, 
which have a more rugged aspect and which rise to a greater elevation 
than this, we found them entirely clear of snow, and when the sun was shining 
upon them^ they exhibited a brown appearance. In standing in towards 
Garrett Island, the water was found to deepen from forty to sixty-five, 
seventy, and eighty fathoms ; the latter soundings occurring at two miles 
distance from the south-eastern point of the island, where we suddenly 
met with a strong rippling on the surface of the water : as no irregularity could 
be found in the bottom, this rippling was perhaps occasioned by the meeting 
of the tides in this place. 
Thur. 26. We had seen no whales nor narwhals since leaving Cape Riley on the 
morning of the 23d ; and it was now remarked, not without some degree of un- 
pleasant feeling, that not a single bird, nor any other living creature, had for 
the whole of this day made its appearance. It was, however encouraging to 
find, while advancing to the westward, as fast as an unfavourable Avind would 
permit, that, although the sea beyond us was for the most part covered with 
a compact and undivided body of ice, yet that a channel of sufficient breadth 
was still left open for us between it and the shore, under the lee of Bathurst 
Island. The ice here consisted almost entirely of fields, the limits of which 
were not visible from the mast head, and which were covered with the same 
kind of hummocks as before described. The westernmost land now in sight was 
a cape, which I named after Vice-Admiral Sir George Cockburn, one of the 
Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. This cape appeared, during the 
day, to be situated on a small island detached from Bathurst Island ; but^ 
on approaching it towards evening, we found them to be connected by a 
low sandy beach or isthmus, over which some high and distant hills were 
seen to the north-westward. An opening in the land near this beach, and 
which had very much the appearance of a river, with some rocky islets at 
its mouth, w£is named Allison Inlet, after the Greenland master of the 
Hecla. The water became very light coloured as we stood in towards this 
part of the coast, and we tacked in twenty-six fathoms, at six or seven 
miles' distance from it, continuing to beat to the westward. 

We gained so little ground during the night, and in the early part of tlie 
following morning, notwithstanding the smoothness of the water, and a fine 




f J,?/u' .y/r/T?,?///, /;-,/> w/.<^- V/. Yt/. '■ / 



Wf^^.^^^^"^^^^^^^ 



C^cL^'^'i^/{^ C^i^.^'er. /ea-yt^ ^A^^3^° /6 dP. 




" _^iiea^ (7?'i- ^/ja/:d^c/j't' ^ /u/^n^z^ . 




^e&cJi^ dtl. 



Z. Cla7'k scu^. 



Zcndc?i,Tii6lisked fy LMuTi-ajy, 2tf22. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 59 

working breeze, that I am confident there must have been a tide setting 
against us off Cape Cockburn ; but, as it was of material importance to get 
round this headland, before a change of wind should set the ice in upon the 
shore, I did not deem it proper to heave-to, for the purpose of trying the 
direction in which it was running. After three A.M., the ships began to 
make much better way, so that I considered it likely that the tide had 
slackened between three and four o'clock ; and if so, the time of slack water 
at this place would be, on full and change days, a few minutes after eleven : 
and as this time, with the proper correction applied, seems to correspond 
pretty accurately with that of high water at the other places, to the eastward 
and westward, where we had an opportunity of observing it, we could 
scarcely doubt that it was the flood-tide which had now been setting against 
us from the westward. From these circumstances, I have ventured to 
mark the time of high water, and the direction of the flood-tide, upon the 
chart, both being confessedly subject to correction by future navigators. 
Several seals were here seen upon the ice, and a single bird with a long 
bill, resembling a curlew. 

While beating round Cape Cockburn, our soundings were from thirty-three 
to twenty-one fathoms, on a bottom of small broken shells and coral ; and 
some star-fish (Asterias) came up on the lead. After rounding this headland, 
the wind favoured us by coming to the S.S.W. ; and as we stood on to the west- 
ward, the water deepened very gradually till noon, when being in latitude, 
by observation, 75° 01' 51", and longitude, by chronometers, 101° 39' 09", 
we sounded in sixty-eight fathoms, on a bottom of mud of a peculiar flesh- 
colour. The high land, which had been seen on the preceding evening, 
over the low beach to the eastward of Cape Cockburn, now appeared also 
to form a part of Bathurst Island, which we afterwards found to be the 
case, (on our return in 1820,) the intermediate parts of the land being too low 
to be clearly distinguished at our present distance. The land to the 
westward of Cape Cockburn sweeps round into a large bay, which I named 
after Vice-Admiral Sir Graham Moore. 

The weather was at this time remarkably serene and clear, and, although 
we saw a line of ice to the southward of us, lying in a direction nearly east 
and west, or parallel to the course on which we were steering, and some 
more land appeared to the westward, yet the space of open water was still 
so broad, and the prospect from the mast-head, upon the whole, so flattering, 
that I thought the chances of our separation had now become greater 



60 VOYAGE FOE THE DISCOVERY 

1819. than before; and I therefore considered it right to furnish Lieutenant Liddon 
K^.-^J with fresh instructions, and to appoint some new place of rendezvous, in case 
of unavoidable separation from the Hecla. A boat Avas, therefore, dropped 
on board the Griper for that purpose, without her heaving-to ; and the same 
opportunity was taken to obtain a comparison between our chronometers. 
About seven P.M., we were sufficiently near to the western land, to ascertain 
that it was part of another island, which I named after Vice-Admiral 
Sir Thomas Byam Martin, Comptroller of His Majesty's navy; and by eight 
o'clock we perceived that the body of ice to the southward, along which we 
had been sailing, took a turn to the north, and stretched quite in to the 
shore, near a low point, off which a great quantity of heavy ice was aground. 
At ten o'clock, after having had a clear view of the ice and of the land about 
sunset; and finding that there was at present no passage to the westward, 
we hauled off to the south-east, in the hope of finding some opening in the 
ice to the southward, by which we might get round in the desired di- 
rection. We were encouraged in this hope by a dark " water-sky" to the 
southward ; but, after running along the ice till half-past eleven, without 
perceiving any opening, we again bore-up to return towards the island. 
There was in this neighbourhood, a great deal of that particular kind of ice, 
called by the sailors " dirty ice," on the surface of which were strewed sand, 
stones, and in some instances, moss ; ice of this kind must, of course, at one 
time or other, have been in close contact with the land. On one of these 
pieces, towards which the Hecla was standing, a little sea was observed break- 
ing ; and, on a nearer approach, it so exactly resembled a rock above water, 
that I thought it prudent to heave all the sails aback, till a boat had been 
sent to examine it. We saw several fulmar petrels, and one or two seals, 
in the course of this day's run. 
Sat. 28. As we approached the south point of the island, to which I gave the name 
of Cape Gillman, out of respect to the memory of the late Sir John Gillman, 
we found the ice in the same position as before ; and I therefore hauled to 
the north-east, with the intention of attempting a passage round the north 
side of the island. In standing in, towards Cape Gillman, our soundings 
gradually decreased from eighty to twenty-three fathoms, the latter depth 
occurring at the distance of two to four miles from the shore. At ten A.M., 
the wind being very light from the S.S.E., I despatched Captain Sabine and 
Mr. Ross, accompanied by Messrs. Edwards and Fisher, to the eastern point 
of the island, which we were about to round in the ships, in order to 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 61 

make the necessary observations, and to examine the natural productions 1819. 
of the shore. Our latitude at noon was 75° 03' 12", long. 103° 44' 37", and J^' 
the depth of water forty fathoms. A thick fog came on in the afternoon, soon 
after the boat had landed, which made me apprehensive that she would not 
easily find her way back to the ship. We continued to stand ofF-and-on by 
the lead, which seems a very safe guide on this coast, firing guns frequently 
till five P.M., when we were not sorry to hear our signals answered by 
musquets from the boat. The gentlemen reported, on their return, that they 
had landed on a sandy beach, near the east point of the island, which they 
found to be more productive, and altogether more interesting than any other 
part of the shores of the Polar regions which we had yet visited. The remains 
of Esquimaux habitations were found in four different places. Six of these, 
which Captain Sabine had an opportunity of examining, and which are 
situated on a level sandy bank, at the side of a small ravine near the sea, 
are described by him as consisting of stones rudely placed in a circular, or 
rather an elliptical, form. They were from seven to ten feet in diameter ; the 
broad, flat sides of the stones standing vertically, and the whole structure, if 
such it may be called, being exactly similar to that of the summer huts of 
the Esquimaux, which we had seen at Hare Island, the preceding year. 
Attached to each of them was a smaller circle, generally four or five feet in 
diameter, which had probably been the fire-place. The small circles were 
placed indifferently, as to their direction from the huts to which they belonged ; 
and from the moss and sand which covered some of the lower stones, 
particularly those which composed the flooring of the huts, the whole en- 
campment appeared to have been deserted for several years. Very recent 
traces of the rein-deer and musk-ox were seen in many places ; and a 
head of the latter, with several rein-deers' horns, was brought on board. 
A few patches of snow remained in sheltered situations; the ravines, however, 
which were numerous, bore the signs of recent and considerable floods, and 
their bottoms were swampy, and covered with very luxuriant moss, and other 
vegetation, the character of which differed very little from that of the land at the 
bottom of Possession Bay. The basis of the island is sandstone, of which by far 
the greater part of the mineralogical specimens brought on board consisted ; 
besides these, some rich granite and red feldspar were met with, together 
with some other substances which are described by Mr. Konig in the 
Appendix. A number of shells, of the Venus tribe, were found imbedded 
in the bottom of the ravines. A thermometer, of which the bulb was buried 



62 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. two or three inches in the sand, considerably above high-water mark, indi- 
'^^^^' cated the temperature of 35|° ; that of the air, the sun being obscured by 
clouds at the time, being 33|°, 

The latitude of the place of observation was 75° 09' 23", and the longitude, by 
chronometers, 103° 44' 37". The dip of the magnetic needle was 88° 25'.5S, and 
the variation was now found to have changed from 128° 58' West, in the longitude 
of 91° 48', where our last observations on shore had been made, to 165° 50' 09" 
East, at our present station ; so that we had, in sailing over the space included be- 
tween those two meridians, crossed immediately to the northward of the mag- 
netic pole, and had undoubtedly passed over one of those spots upon the globe, 
where the needle would have been found to vary 180°, or in other words, 
where its north pole would have pointed due south. This spot would, in all 
probability, at this time be somewhere not far from the meridian of 100° 
west of Greenwich. It would undoubtedly have been extremely interesting 
to obtain such an observation, and in any other than the very precarious 
navigation in which we were now engaged, I should have felt it my 
duty to devote a certain time to this particular purpose ; but, under 
present circumstances, it was impossible for me to regret the cause 
which alone had prevented it, especially as the importance to science of 
this obsei-vation was not sufficient to compensate the delay which the 
search after such a spot would necessarily have occasioned, and which could 
hardly be justified at a moment when we were making, and for two 
or three days continued to make, a rapid and unobstructed progress towards 
the accomplishment of our principal object. Captain Sabine remarked, in 
obtaining the observations for the variation, that the compasses, which were 
those of Captain Rater's construction, required somewhat more tapping with 
the hand, to make them traverse, than they did at the place of observation in 
Prince Regent's Inlet, on the 7th of August, where the magnetic deep was 
' very nearly the same ; but that, when they had settled, they indicated the 
meridian with more precision. For instance, on the 7th of August, the 
compass, when levelled on its stand, would traverse of itself; but if the bear- 
ing of any object were observed with it, and the compass frequently removed 
and replaced, the bearings so obtained would differ from each other, notwith- 
standing much tapping, to the amount of 3° or 4° ; whereas on the present 
occasion, more sluggishness was observable, yet, at the same time, a closer 
agreement in the successive results. 

The tide was rising by the shore, from noon till half past four P.M., at 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 63 

which time the boats left the beach ; and, by the high-watermark, it was isig. 
considered probable that it had yet to rise full an hour longer. The time of ^^^oJi^' 
high water, therefore, may be taken at half past five, which will make that of 
the full and change days about twelve o'clock. Mr. Ross found, on rowing 
round the point near which he landed, that the stream was setting strong 
against him from the northward. We had tried the current in the offing at 
noon, by mooring the small boat to the bottom, when it was found to be run- 
ning in a south direction, at the rate of half a mile per hour. At four P.M., 
near the same station, it was setting S.S.W., five eighths of a mile an hour, so 
that it would appear tolerably certain that the flood-tide here comes from the 
northward. 

The wind became very light from the eastward, and the weather continued Sun. '29. 
so foggy that nothing could be done during the night but to stand ofl-and-on, 
by the soundings, between the ice and the land ; as we had no other means 
of knowing the direction in which we were sailing, than by the decrease in 
the depth of water on one tack, and by making the ice on the other. The fog 
froze hard upon the rigging, which always makes the working of the ship 
a very laborious task, the size of the running rigging being sometimes thus 
increased to three times its proper diameter. At four A.M. on the 29th, the 
current was tried by mooring a boat to the bottom, but none could be detected. 
About this time the fog partially cleared away for a little while, when we ob- 
served that the ice was more open off Cape Gillman, than when we had before 
attempted to pass in that direction. At five o'clock, therefore, we made sail 
for the point, with a light easterly breeze ; but at seven, when we had pro- 
ceeded only two or three miles, the fog came on again as thick as before : for- 
tunately, however, we had previously been enabled to take notice of several 
pieces of ice, by steering for each of which in succession, we came to the edge 
of a floe, along which our course was to be pursued to the westward. As 
long as we had this guidance, we advanced with great confidence ; but as soon 
as we came to the end of the floe, which then turned off to the southward, the 
circumstances under which we were sailing were, perhaps, such as have never 
occurred since the early days of navigation. To the northward was the land ; 
the ice, as we supposed, to the southward ; the compasses useless ; and the sun 
completely obscured by a fog, so thick that the Griper could only now and then 
be seen at a cable's length astern. We had literally, therefore, no mode of 
regulating our course but by once more trusting to the steadiness of the wind ; 
and it was not a little amusing, as well as novel, to see the quarter-master 



^ VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. conning the ship by looking at the dog-vane. Under all these circumstances, 
J^^' it was necessary to run under easy sail, the breeze having gradually freshened 
up from the eastward. Our soundings were at this time extremely regular, 
being from forty-one to forty-five fathoms, on a bottom of soft mud. At ten 
o'clock the weather became clear enough to allow us to see our way through 
a narrow part in a patch of ice which lay ahead, and beyond which there was 
some appearance of a " water-sky." There is, however, nothing more deceit- 
ful than this appearance during a fog, which, by the same optical illusion 
whereby all other objects become magnified, causes every small " hole," of 
clear water to appear like a considerable extent of open and navigable sea. 
We continued running till eleven P.M., when the fog came on again, making 
the night so dark that it was no longer possible to proceed in any tolerable 
security; I therefore directed the ships to be made fast to a floe, having 
sailed by our account, twelve miles, the depth of water being forty-four 
fathoms. 
Mon. 30. The fog continued till five A.M. on the 30th, when it cleared sufficiently to 
give us a sight of the land, and of the heavy ice aground ofi^ Cape Gillman, the 
latter being five or six miles to the northward of us, in which situation we had 
deepened our soundings to fifty fathoms during the night's drift. The state of 
the ice, and of the weather, not permitting us to move, Captain Sabine, being 
desirous of making some use of this unavoidable detention, and considering it 
at all times important to confirm magnetic observations obtained on shore in 
these high latitudes, by others taken upon the ice, employed himself in repeat- 
ing his series of observations on the dip of the needle, which he found to be 
88° 29'. 12, differing only three minutes and a half from that obtained on shore 
on the 28th, a few leagues to the northward and eastward of our present sta- 
tion. The floe to which the ships were now secured was not more than six or 
seven feet in thickness, and was covered with innumerable pools of water, most 
of which had communication with the sea, as we could with difficulty obtain any 
that was sufficiently fresh for drinking. In many parts, indeed, there were 
large holes through which the sea was visible, and the under surface was much 
decayed and honey-combed, being nearly in that state which the Greenland 
sailors call " rotten." Some of the officers amused themselves in skating on 
the pools, all of which' were hard frozen on the surface ; and the men in sliding^ 
foot-ball, and other games. By putting some drag-nets and oyster-dredges 
overboard, and suffering them to drag along the ground as the ship drifted with 
the ice, we obtained a few specimens of marine insects. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 65 

In the evening a quantity of loose ice drifted down near the ships ; and, to 1819. 
avoid being beset, we made sail towards the island, our soundings being Jivil' 
from thirty-five to seventeen fathoms : we were soon under the necessity of 
again anchoring to a floe, till the weather should clear, being in twenty-one 
fathoms, at the distance of three miles from the land. 

The weather cleared a little at intervals, but not enough to enable us to pro- Tues. o. 
ceed till nine A.M. on the 31st, when we cast off from the ice, with a very light 
air from the northward. We occasionally caught a glimpse of the land through 
the heavy fog-banks, with which the horizon was covered, which was sufficient to 
give us an idea of the true direction in which we ought to steer. Soon after 
noon we were once more enveloped in fog, which however, was not so thick 
as to prevent our having recourse to a new expedient for steering the ships, 
which circumstances at the time naturally suggested to our minds. Before 
the fog re-commenced, and while we were sailing on the course which by the 
bearings of the land we knew to be the right one, the Griper was exactly 
astern of the Hecla, at the distance of about a quarter of a mile. The wea- 
ther being fortunately not so thick as to prevent our still seeing her at that 
distance, the quarter-master was directed to stand aft, near the taffi-ail, and to 
keep her constantly astern of us, by which means we contrived to steer a 
tolerably straight course to the westward. The Griper, on the other hand, 
naturally kept the Hecla right a-head ; and thus, however ridiculous it may 
appear, it is, nevertheless, true, that we steered one ship entirely by the other 
for a distance of ten miles out of sixteen and a half, which we sailed between 
one and eleven P.M. It then became rather dark, and the water having 
shoaled from fifty to twenty-three fathoms somewhat more suddenly than usual, 
I did not consider it prudent to run any farther till it should become light and 
clear enough to see around us, as it was probable that we were approaching 
land of which we had no knowledge. We therefore hauled our wind to the 
S.S.E., on the larboard tack, and at midnight had deepened the water to fifty- 
two fathoms, being among rather close " sailing ice*." 

The wind died away on the morning of the 1st of September, and the fog Sept. 
was succeeded by snow and sleet, which still rendered the atmosphere ex- ^^^- '• 
tremely thick. At a quarter before four A.M., I was informed by the officer 
of the watch that a breeze had sprung up, and that there was very little ice 

* The monthly Meteorological Abstracts will be inserted at the end of each month, as 
being more convenient for reference than if placed in a continued series iu the Appendix. 

K 



ABSTRACT of the METEOROLOGICAL JOURNAL kept on board His 


Majesty's Ship Hecla, at Sea, 








d 


uring the Month o( August, 1819. 




Day 


Temperature of Air 
in shade. 


Sea Water at the 
surface. 


j Barometer. 

1 


1 
Prevailing Winds. 


Prevailiiig Weather. 


Maxi- 


Mitii- 


Mean. 


Tempe- 


Specific 
Gravity 


Tempera 
weighed. 


Maxi- 
mum. 


Mini- 


Mean. 


1 


o 
36 


+ 
o 
33.5 


+ 
O 

34.50 


+ 
o 
32.6 


1.0215 


55.5 


inches. 
29.60 


inche3. inches. 
29.51 29.540 


West 


Fresh breezes and hazy. 


2 


41 


33 


37.00 


34.2 


1.0255 


52 


29.73 


29.59 


29.660 


fN.E.bE.roundby \ 
I South to West ( 
5 A.M. S.WbW. ) 
I P.M. East. 5 


From fresh breezes to calms. Fine weather. 


3 


38 


33 


35.58 


33.2 


1.0217 


55 


29.70 


29.50 


29.632 


Moderate breezes and hazy. 


4 


37.5 


33.5 


35.29 


32.8 


1.0218 


55 


29.51 


29.45 


29.481 


East 


Strong breezes and hazy. 


5 


35 


33.5 


34.25 


31.7 






29.51 


29.48 


29.496 


N.W. 


Light airs and cloudy, with snow. 


6 


35 


33 


33.83 


31.8 


1.0232 


59 


29.50 


29.51 


29.530 


North 


Light breezes and cloudy. 


7 


30 


31 


33.83 


31.6 


1.0248 


58 


29.60 


29.53 


29.5G2 


North 


Moderate breezes and cloudy. 


8 


35 


30 


32.62 


31.5 


1.0236 


38 


29.65 


29.59 


29.622 


N.W. 


Light breezes and cloudy. 


9 


39.5 


30.5 


33.92 


30.9 


1.0255 


50 


29.07 


29.62 


29.650 


N.W.bW.toS.S.W. 


Ditto. 


10 


36 


31 


33.00 


31.2 


1.0246 


56 


29.55 


29.52 


29.540 


S.bW. 


i Moderate breezesand hazy, with rain and snow. 


11 


35 


33 


33.42 


31.0 


1.0214 


56 


29.60 


29.49 


29.567 


S.bW. : 


Moderate and foggy, with continued rain. 


12 


35 


30 


32.58 


31.4 


1.02J0 


55 


29.85 


29.80 


29.820 


N.bE. 


Moderate and foggy, with rain at intervals. 


13 


40 


30 


3G.88 


32.2 


1.0237 


51 


29.80 


29.72 


29.810 


S.W. 


Light airs and fine clear weather. 


14 


42 


34 


30.75 


32.7 


1.0239 


55 


29.76 


29.ei 


29.717 


N.N.W. to S.S.W. 


Ditto ditto. 


15 


39 


32 


35.21 


33.1 


1.0236 


55 


29.63 


29.61 


29.620 


S. Westerly. 


Ditto ditto. 


16 


36 


33 


34.00 


32.8 


1.0242 


55 


29.68 


29.61 


29.642 


5 S.S.E. round by > 
I S. to W.N.W. 5 


Light airs and hazy ; calm at times. 


17 


35 


32 


33.42 


32.6 


1.0242 


55 


29.66 


29.63 


29.652 


S.W. 


Light airs and foggy weather. 


18 


36 


32.5 


33.67 


32.5 


1.0236 


55 


29.64 


29.60 


29.625 


5 A.M. S.W.bW. ? 
t P.M. N.E.bE. 1 


Light breezes and cloudy. 


19 


33 


32 


32.83 


32.8 


1.0233 


57 


;29.55 


29.53 


29542 


E.bN. 


Sttongbreezei & hazy, with rain, hail, & sleet. 


20 


36 


33 


34.86 


32.6 


1.0233 


57 


29.63 


29.57 


29.610 


E.bN. 


Light breezes and hazy weather. 


21 


36 


33 


34.79 


32.5 


1.018S 


58 


29.66 


29.62 


29.650 


Round the compass. 


Ditto 


22 


38 


33 


35.62 


33.2 


1.0235 


54 


29.76 


29.67 


29.729 


Ditto. 


Light variable airs— A.M. hazy, P.M. clear. 


23 


36 


32 


33.75 


31.5 


1.0247 


54 


29.76 


29.66 


29.712 


North 


Moderate breezes and cloudy. 


24 


30 


28 


29.50 


30.1 


1.0246 


54 


29.66 


29.61 


29.634 


N.N.W. 


Fresh breezes and cloudy. 


25 
26 

27 
28 


32 
35 
34 
34 


30 
30 
30.5 
30 


30.54 
31.92 
32.58 
32.00 


30.2 
30.4 
30.9 
31.8 






29.87 
30.06 
29.96 
29.70 


29.64 
29.95 
29.80 
29.60 


29.757 
30.012 
29.900 
29.657 


N.W. 

N.W.b.W. 

S.S.W. 

S.S.E. to N.E. 


Ditto. 

Ditto. 
Light breezes and fine clear weather. 
Light breezes and foggy. 
Light airs and foggy. 
Fresh breezes and foggy. 
Light airs, with sleet and snow. 














29 
30 
31 


32 
34 
34 


31 
30 
31 


31.75 

32.08 
32.21 


31.7 
31.1 
31.4 






29.57 
29.36 
29.59 


29.40 
29.31 
29.39 


29.482 
29.332 
29.510 


S.E. 

N.E. 

5 N.W. round by ) 
I North to East J 
















42 


28 


33,67 


31.93 






30.06 


29.31 


29.635 



VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. Gf 

near the ships. Anxious to take advantage of these favourable circumstances, 
I directed all sail to be made to the westward : there was no difficulty in com- 
plying with the first part of this order, but to ascertain which way the wind 
was blowing, and to which quarter of the horizon the ship's head was to be 
directed, was a matter of no such easy accomplishment ; nor could we devise 
any means of determining this question till five o'clock, when we obtained a 
sight of the sun through the fog, and were thus enabled to shape our course, 
the wind being moderate from the northward. 

In standing to the southward, we had gradually deepened the water to one 
hundred and five fathoms, and our soundings now as gradually decreased as 
we stood to the westward ; giving us reason to believe, as on the preceding 
night, and from the experience we had acquired of the navigation among 
these islands, that we were approaching land in that direction. In this sup- 
position we were not deceived, for, at half-past eight, the fog having sud- 
denly cleared up, we found ourselves within four or five miles of a low point 
of land which was named after Mr. Griffiths, and which, being at the 
distance of six or seven leagues from Byam Martin Island, we considered to 
be part of another of the same group. We sailed along the shore at the 
distance of two to four miles in a S.W.b.W. direction, and having dropped a 
boat to obtain observations upon the ice, without heaving-to for that purpose, 
we found ourselves to be, at noon, in latitude 74° 59' 35", and longitude, 
by chronometers, 106° 07 36". This land very much resembled, in height 
and general character, the other islands which we had lately passed, being in 
most parts of a brownish colour, among which we also imagined a little green 
to be here and there discernible. We had some small rain in the afternoon, 
which was succeeded by snow towards midnight. 

At one A.M. on the 2d, a star was seen, being the first that had been ihurs. 2. 
visible to us for more than two months. The fog came on again this morning, 
which, together with the lightness of the wind preventing the ships getting 
sufficient way to keep them under command, occasioned them some of the 
heaviest blows which they had yet received during the voyage, although the 
ice was generally so loose and broken as to have allowed an easy passage 
with a moderate and leading wind. As none of the pieces near us were large 
enough for securing the ships in the usual manner, we could only heave-to, 
to windward of one of the heaviest masses, and allow the ship to drive Avith 
it till some favourable change should take place. After lying for an hour in 
this inactive and helpless situation, we again made sail, the weather being 



68 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

rather more clear, which discovered to us that the main body of the ice wass 
about three miles distant from the land, the intermediate space being very 
thickly covered with loose pieces through which our passage was to be 
sought. As we stood in for the land in the forenoon, we decreased our 
soundings uniformly from twenty-seven to eleven fathoms at one and a half or 
two miles from the beach, and a boat, which I sent to sound in-shore, found 
the water to shoal very regularly to six fathoms at about half a mile. At 
this distance from the beach, there were many large masses of ice aground ; 
and it was here that the method so often resorted to in the subsequent part 
of the voyage, of placing the ships between these masses and the land, in 
case of the ice closing suddenly upon us, first suggested itself to our minds. 

As we were making no way to the westward, I directed two boats to be pre- 
pared from each ship for the purpose of making the usual observations on 
shore, as well as to endeavour to kill deer; and, at one P.M., I left the ship, 
accompanied by a large party of officers and men, and was soon after joined 
by the Griper's boats. We landed on a very flat sandy beach, which did not 
allow the boats to come nearer than their own length, and we were imme- 
diately struck with the general resemblance in the character of this island to 
that of Byam Martin Island, which we had lately visited. The basis of this 
land is sandstone, but we met with limestone also, occurring in loose pieces on 
the surface, and several lumps of coal were brought in by the parties Avho had 
traversed the island in diiferent directions. Our sportsmen were by no means 
successful, having seen only two deer, which were too wild to allow them to 
get near them. The dung of these animals, however, as well as that of the 
musk-ox was very abundant, especially in those places where the moss was 
most luxuriant ; every here and there we came to a spot of this kind, 
consisting of one or two acres of ground covered with a rich vegetation, and 
which was evidently the feeding-place of those animals, there being quantities 
of their hair and wool lying scattered about. Several heads of the musk- 
ox were picked up, and one of the Hecla's seamen brought to the boat a 
narwhal's horn which he found on a hill more than a mile from the 
sea, and which must have been carried thither by Esquimaux or by bears : 
three or four brace of ptarmigan fTetrao Lagopus,J were killed, and these 
were the only supply of this kind which we obtained. Serjeant Martin 
of the artillery, and Captain Sabine's servant, brought down to the beach 
several pieces of a large fir-tree, which they found nearly buried in the sand, 
at the distance of three or four hundred yards from the present high-water 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 69 

mark, and not less than thirty feet above the level of the sea. We found no I8i9. 
indication of this part of the island having been inhabited, unless the ^"^^ 
narwhal's horn, above alluded to, be considered as such. 

The latitude of the place of observation here, which was within a 
hundred yards of the beach, was 74° 58', the longitude, by chronometers, 
107° 03' 31".7, and the variation of the magnetic needle 151° 30' 03" eas- 
terly. At forty minutes past one P.M., when the boats landed, the tide 
had fallen a foot by the shore. It continued to fall till seven P.M., and 
then rose again, the whole fall of tide not exceeding five or five and a half 
feet. At the time we landed. Lieutenant Beechey tried for a current in the 
offing, but could find none ; at half-past seven, the tide was setting E.N.E., at 
the rate of a mile and a half an hour ; and, at a quarter before ten, after 1 
returned on board, it was still setting slowly to the eastward. By the 
above observations, the time of high water, at the full and change of the 
moon, seems to be about three quarters after one o'clock. The direction of 
the flood-tide does not appear so clear. If it come from the westward, there 
must be a tide and half tide ; but it seems more than probable, on an in- 
spection of the chart, that here, as on the eastern sideof Byam Martin Island, 
it will be found to come from the northward between the islands. At the 
top of a hill, immediately above the place of observation, and about a mile 
from the sea, a bottle was buried, containing the usual information. A mound 
of sand and stones was raised over it, and a boarding-pike fixed in the middle. 
We returned on board at half past eight, and found that Lieutenant Beechey 
had, in the mean time, taken a number of useful soundings, and made other 
hydrographical remarks for carrying on the survey of the coast. 

The wind continued light and variable till half-past eight A.M. on the 3d, Fiwl. 3. 
when a breeze from the northward once more enabled us to make some 
progress. I was the more anxious to do so, from having perceived that the 
main ice had, for the last twenty-four hours, been gradually, though slowly, 
closing on the shore, thereby contracting the scarcely navigable channel in 
which we were sailing. The land which formed our western extreme was a 
low point, five miles to the westward of our place of observation the preceding 
day, and the ice had already approached this point so much, that there was 
considerable doubt whether any passage could be found between them. As wc 
neared the point, we shoaled the water rather quickly, though regularly, from 
thirty to seven fathoms ; but, by keeping a little farther out, which fortunately 
the ice just at that time allowed us to do, we avoided getting into shoaler 



70 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

water, and immediately after rounding the point, we increased our soundings 
to sixteen and seventeen fathoms. We had scarcely cleared the point, how- 
ever, when the wind failed us, and the boats were immediately sent a-head 
to tow, but a breeze springing up shortly after from the westward, obliged 
us to have recourse to another method of gaining ground which we had not 
hitherto practised : this was by using small anchors and whale-lines as warps, 
by which means Ave made great progress, till, at forty minutes after noon, 
we were favoured by a fresh breeze, which soon took us into an open space 
of clear water to the northward and westward. While we were thus em- 
ployed on board, Mr. Ross, after whom I named this point, had been des- 
patched in a boat to sound in-shore near it, where there were a great many 
large masses of ice aground, in order that we might be prepared to place the 
ships in the most advantageous position, should the ice unexpectedly close 
upon the shore, Mr. Ross reported, that he had found good depth of water 
in-shore, the ice being aground in five to seven fathoms, after which the water 
shoaled gradually towards the land. A little to the westward of Point Ross, 
there was a barrier of this kind of ice, composed of heavy masses firmly fixed 
to the ground at nearly regular intervals for about a mile, in a direction 
parallel to the beach. At right angles to this, a second tier projected, of the 
same kind of ice, extending to the shore, so that the two together formed a 
most complete harbour, within which, I believe, a ship might have been 
placed in case of necessity, without much danger from the pressure of the 
external floes of ice. It was natural for us to keep in view the possibility of 
our being obliged to pass the ensuing winter in such a harbour ; and, it must 
be confessed, that the apparent practicability of finding such tolerable security 
for the ships as this artificial harbour affbrded, should we fail in discovering a 
more safe and regular anchorage, added not a little to the confidence with 
which our operations were carried on during the remainder of the present 
season. 

The land immediately to the north-westward of Point Ross forms a 
considerable bay, named after Mr. Skene, off which there was a large 
space of clear water, where we had to beat to the northward during the 
afternoon, as the ice lay in that direction. In standing off-and-on, we 
shoaled the water in one place very suddenly from nineteen to eleven 
fathoms, at the distance of one mile from the beach. Having tacked, I 
sent Mr. Bushnan to sound in-shore, where a shoal was discovered three 
quarters of a mile from the land, having three and four fathoms upon it, and 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 71 

within it from eight to thirteen fathoms. The sun-set of this evening was 
extremely beautiful, the weather being clear and frosty, and the sky 
without a cloud. The moon rising soon after, afforded a spectacle no less 
pleasing, and far more sublime. Her horizontal diameter appeared to be 
very much elongated when just above the horizon, owing to the unequal 
refraction of the upper and lower limbs ; but it measured 33' 20", being 
only 6" more than the true, which difference may have arisen from an error 
in the observation. The vertical diameter measured 30' 40' . 

Having weathered all the ice round which we had to sail, in order to pro- Sat. 4. 
ceed to the westward, we were under the necessity of lying-to, off Skene Bay, 
for some hours, the weather having become very squally and unsettled, with 
occasional fog, and the night not being sufficiently light to ascertain whether 
there was a passage between the ice and a point of land which forms the 
western extreme of the bay. On its eastern side an inlet, two miles wide . 
at the entrance, was discovered, and named after Mr. Beverly, and at the 
bottom of this we did not see the land all round. At half-past two A.M., we 
made sail to the westward, the Griper having been directed by signal to 
extend her distance ; a precaution which was always adopted in cases 
where shoal-water was to be apprehended, in order to avoid the risk of both 
ships grounding at the same time. As we approached the point, the sound- 
ings decreased gradually from thirty to seven fathoms, in which depth I 
tacked, and despatched Mr. Palmer in a boat to sound round the point, to 
which I gave the name of Cape Palmer, after the gentleman intrusted 
with this service. Having been informed by signal from the boat, that no 
less than six fathoms' water had been found, we again tacked, and soon after 
rounded the point in that depth, at the distance of three quarters of a 
mile from a low sandy beach. We then ran several miles along the shore 
without much obstruction, till the wind, backing to the north-west, obliged 
us to make several tacks between the ice and the land, the navigable channel 
being at this time between three and four miles wide. At noon we observed, in 
latitude 74° 54' 49 ", the longitude, by chronometers, being 108° 31' 44", at which 
time we were off a low, sandy island, which was named after Mr. Dealy, and 
which lies near the entrance into a large inlet, to which the name of Bridport 
Inlet was given, from regard to the memory of the late Lord Bridport. This 
inlet runs a considerable distance to the northward, and seemed to afford good 
shelter for ships ; but, as we had no opportunity of examining it in our 
boats, I am unable to state any further particulars respecting it. The land to the 



"^2 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

^819. westward of it, of which the most conspicuous part is a remarkable bluff head- 
v^^^. land, is much higher than that about Skene Bay; and we ceased to obtain any 
soundings with the hand-leads after we had passed the entrance of Bridport 
Inlet. At a quarter-past nine P.M., we had the satisfaction of crossing the 
meridian of 110° west from Greenwich, in the latitude of 74° 44' 20"; by 
which His Majesty's ships, under my orders, became entitled to the sum of 
five thousand pounds, being the reward offered by the King's order in coun- 
cil, grounded on a late Act of Parliament, to such of His Majesty's subjects 
as might succeed in penetrating thus far to the westward within the Arctic 
Circle. In order to commemorate the success which had hitherto attended 
our exertions, the bluff headland, which we had just passed, was subsequently 
called by the men Bounty Cape ; by which name I have, therefore, distin- 
guished it on the chart. 

As we stood to the westward, we found the extreme of the land in that 
direction to be a low point, which was named after Samuel Hearne, the 
well-known American traveller, and to the north-eastward of which is a 
bay of considerable extent, which was perfectly free from ice. We con- 
tinued our course towards Cape Hearne till midnight, when, the weather 
being too dark to run any longer with safety, the ships were hove-to with their 
heads to the eastward. One black whale was seen^ in the course of this 
day's navigation, off Bridport Inlet ; and some flocks of snow-buntings were 
flying about the ship at night. 
Sun. 5. At a quarter before three A.M., on the 5th, we tacked, and stood to the 
westward, with the hope of getting past Cape Hearne, the wind being 
moderate from the northward, and the weather thick with snow; and, 
shortly after, we shoaled the water quickly from twenty-five to thirteen, and 
then to nine, fathoms. We tacked in the latter depth, believing that we were 
approaching a shoal, especially as we were near some heavy ice, which, 
having a tide-mark upon it, appeared to be aground. We afterwards found, 
however, that we had at this time been actually within three or four hundred 
yards of Cape Hearne, which is so surrounded by heavy ice at a sufficient 
distance from the shore, that it would perhaps be difficult to run a ship 
aground upon it. The error into which we were here led, as to our distance 
from the beach, arose from the extreme difficulty of distinguishing, even in 
broad day-light, between the ice and the land, when the latter is low and 
shelving, and completely covered with snow ; by the uniform whiteness of 
which, they are so completely blended, as to deceive the best eye. Indeed, 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. ■ 73 

I know no circumstance in the navigation of these seas which renders more 1819 
necessary a vigilant look-out, and a careful attention to the hand-leads than -..J^ 
the deception to which I here allude. 

Having stood again to the westward, to take a nearer view of the ice, we 
perceived that it lay quite close in with Cape Hearne, notwithstanding the 
fresh northerly wind which, for the last thirty-six hours, had been blowing 
from the shore, and which had drifted the ice some distance to the south- 
ward, in every other part of the coast along which we had lately been sailing. 
This circumstance struck us very forcibly at the time, as an extraordinary 
one ; and it was a general remark among us, that the ice must either be 
aground in shoal-water, or that it butted against something to the southward, 
which prevented its moving in that direction. Appearances being thus dis- 
couraging, nothing remained to be done but to stand off-and-on near the point, 
and carefully to watch for any opening that might occur. 

After divine service had been performed, I assembled the officers, seamen, 
and marines of the Hecia, and announced to them officially, that their 
exertions had so far been crowned with success, as to entitle them to the first 
prize in the scale of rewards, granted by His Majesty's order in council above- 
mentioned. I took this opportunity of impressing upon the minds of the men 
the necessity of the most strenuous exertions during the short remainder 
of the present season ; assuring them that, if we could penetrate a few de- 
grees farther to the westward, before the ships were laid up for the winter, 
I had little doubt of our accomplishing the object of our enterprise before the 
close of the next season. I also addressed a letter to Lieutenant Liddon, 
to the same effect, and directed a small addition to be made to the usual 
allowance of meat, and some beer to be served, as a Sunday's dinner, on this 
occasion. 

The wind increasing to a fresh gale from the northward in the afternoon, 
and the ice still continuing to oppose an impenetrable barrier to our further 
progress, I determined to beat up to the northern shore of the bay, and, 
if a tolerable roadstead could be found, to drop our anchors till some change 
should take place. This was accordingly done at three P.M., in seven fathoms' 
water, the bottom being excellent holding-ground, composed of mud and sand, 
from which the lead could with difficulty be extricated. When we veered 
to half a cable, we had ten fathoms' water under the Hecla's stern, our 
distance from the northern shore being about a mile and a half This 
roadstead, which I called the Bav of the Hecla and Griper, affords very 

I, 



74 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. secure shelter with the wind from E.N.E., round by north, to S.W., and we 
J,rS^ found it more free from ice than any other part of the southern coast of the 
island. 

I had great reason to be satisfied with our having anchored the ships, as 
the wind shortly after blew a hard gale from the northward. In the evening 
I sent Captain Sabine and Messrs. Edwards and Nias on shore to examine the 
country, and to collect specimens of its natural productions ; they returned at 
ten P.M., having landed on a low point a little to the westward of the ships, 
which they found to be a very barren and unproductive spot ; several flocks 
of ducks were seen, and some glaucous gulls and tern ; the dung and foot- 
tracks of the deer and musk-ox were also observed in many places ; and some 
addition was made by our gentlemen to our collection of marine insects. The 
rocks are composed entirely of sandstone, but a few small pieces of granite, 
flint, and coal, were also among the specimens brought on board. This 
island, on which our boats had now landed for the second time, and Avhich is 
much the largest of the group we had lately discovered, I honoured with the 
name of Melville Island, after Viscount Melville, the First Lord of the 
Admiralty. 

The bay of the Hecla and Griper was the first spot where we had dropped 
anchor since leaving the coast of Norfolk ; a circumstance which was rendered 
the more striking to us at the moment, as it appeared to mark, in a very de- 
cided manner, the completion of one stage of our voyage. The ensigns and 
pendants were hoisted as soon as we had anchored, and it created in us no 
ordinary feelings of pleasure to see the British flag waving, for the first time, 
in these regions, which had hitherto been considered beyond the limits of the 
habitable part of the world. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 75 



CHAPTER IV. 



FURTHER EXAMINATION OF MELVILLE ISLAND CONTINUATION OF OUR PRO- 
GRESS TO THE WESTWARD LONG DETENTION BY THE ICE — PARTY SENT 

ON SHORE TO HUNT DEER AND MUSK-OXEN RETURN IN THREE DAYS, AFTER 

LOSING THEIR WAY — ANXIETY ON THEIR ACCOUNT — PROCEED TO THE 
WESTWARD, TILL FINALLY STOPPED BY THE ICE — IN RETURNING TO THE 
EASTWARD THE GRIPER FORCED ON THE BEACH BY THE ICE — SEARCH FOR, 
AND DISCOVERY OF, A WINTER HARBOUR ON MELVILLE ISLAND — OPERA- 
TIONS FOR SECURING THE SHIPS IN THEIR WINTER QUARTERS. 

As the wind still continued to blow strong from the northward on the morn- 
ing of the 6th, without any appearance of opening a passage for us past Cape 
Hearne, I took the opportunity of sending all our boats from both ships at 
eight A.M., to bring on board a quantity of moss-peat which our gentlemen 
reported having found near a small lake at no great distance from the sea, 
and which I directed to be substituted for part of our usual allowance of 
coals. Captain Sabine also went on shore to make the requisite observations, 
and several of the officers of both ships to sport, and to collect specimens of 
natural history. The boats rowed round the point on which they had landed 
the preceding evening, and which Captain Sabine now selected as the most 
convenient place of observation ; and discovered just beyond it to the north- 
ward, a small harbour, having a bar at its entrance, upon which Mr. Fife, 
the Greenland master of the Griper, after whom the harbour was named, 
found ten feet water at nearly low tide. 

The latitude of the point is 74° 46' 56", and its longitude, by our chrono- 
meters, 110° 33' 59". The dip of the magnetic needle was found to be 
88° 29'.91, and the variation 126° 17' 18" Easterly. It was low water by the 



Mon. 



76 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. shore at half-past nine, and it had risen between two and three feet when 
,..,!^ the boats came away at half-past twelve. During this time the ships were 
tending to a tide coming strong from the eastward ; from which direction it is 
therefore probable, that the flood-tide runs on this part of the coast, though 
we had no satisfactory opportunity of trying its true set in the offing. Near 
the point where the observations were made, a bottle was buried, containing 
a paper as usual, and a pile of stones raised over it. The weather was this 
day unusually cold to the feelings, to a greater degree even than might have 
been expected from the indication of the thermometer, which, for the first 
time, had been as low as 25°. 

The wind beginning to moderate soon after noon, and there being at length 
some appearance of motion in the ice near Cape Hearne, the boats were im- 
mediately recalled from the shore, and returned at two P.M., bringing some 
peat, which was found to burn tolerably, but a smaller quantity than I had 
hoped to procure, owing to a misunderstanding as to the distance at which 
it was to be found from the sea. At half-past tAvo, as soon as the ship's 
company had dined, we began to heave at the cable, but so excellent is the 
holding-ground, that it required all the purchase as well as strength we could 
apply, to start the anchor by half-past four. We then made sail for Cape 
Hearne, which we rounded at six o'clock, having no soundings with from 
seventeen to twenty fathoms of line, at the distance of a mile and a quarter 
from the point. The extreme of the land which now appeared to the west- 
ward bore about S.W.b.W., and there was a sufficient space of clear water 
along the shore to allow us to steer for it. It was impossible, however, not 
to remark to how short a distance from the shore, not exceeding three or four 
miles, the ice had been drifted by the late strong gales. We had observed, 
however, that in rounding Cape Hearne this evening, the wind had drawn 
gradually to the eastward as we proceeded, taking nearly the direction of 
the shore, and we were willing to hope that it had been blowing from the 
same quarter, while we were lying at anchor in the bay ; in which case it 
was not necessary to suppose any such serious obstruction to the southward 
as that to which we had at first been inclined to attribute these unfavourable 
appearances. 

I was beginning once more to indulge in those flattering hopes, of which 
often-repeated disappointments cannot altogether deprive us, when I per- 
ceived, from the crow's nest, a compact body of ice, extending completely 
in to the shore near the point which formed the western extreme. We ran 



J 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 77 



1819. 



sufficiently close, to be assured that no passage to the westward could at ^^ ^ 
present be effected, the floes being literally upon the beach, and not a drop ^^r»j 
of clear water being visible beyond them. I then ordered the ships to be 
made fast to a floe, being in eighty fathoms' water, at the distance of four or 
five miles from the beach. The season had now so far advanced, as to make 
it absolutely necessary to secure the ships every night from ten till two 
o'clock, the weather being too dark during that interval to allow of our 
keeping under-way in such a navigation as this, deprived as we were of 
the use of the compasses. But, however anxious the hours of darkness must 
necessarily be under such circumstances, the experience of the former voyage 
had given us every reason to believe, that the month of September would 
prove the most valuable period of the year for prosecuting our discoveries in 
these regions, on account of the sea being more clear from ice at this time 
than at any other. Feeling, therefore, as I did, a strong conviction, that the 
ultimate accomplishment of our object must depend, in a great measure, on 
the further progress we should make this season, I determined to extend our 
operations to the latest possible period. 

The wind having been fresh from the north-east during the night, we were Tues. 7. 
this morning enclosed for a time by a quantity of loose ice drifting down upon 
us. No change could be perceived in the state of the ice to the westward till 
one P.M., when it appeared to be moving a little off the point. We 
therefore warped the ships out, and made sail with a light but favourable 
breeze. At eight P.M., however, having arrived at the point, and finding no 
passage open, we made the ships fast in a large bay in a floe, in sixty-five 
fathoms, at the distance of a mile and a half from the shore. I sent 
Lieutenant Beechey on shore to look round from the hills for open 
water to the westward, as well as to sound round some heavy masses of ice 
which were aground in-shore, and within which it would perhaps become 
expedient to secure the ships in case of necessity. He reported on his 
return, at ten P.M., that no clear water whatever could be seen along 
the land, the ice being compact, and close in to the shore, as far as a bold 
headland which now formed the western extreme of the island, and which 
was from four to five leagues distant from us. The ice aground in-shore 
was very close to the beach, which was steep-to, as our soundings in the offing 
indicated. Lieutenant Beechey found, however, a depth of from twelve to 
four fathoms Avithin many of the masses ; but as there was little or no 
room to swing within them, I preferred keeping the ships in their present 



78 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

situation, while the ice remained quiet. I was the more induced to do so from 
the boldness of the beach, and the depth of the bay formed by the floe 
to which we were now secured, which circumstances seemed to render it 
more than probable, that the latter would take the ground long before the 
ships could come in contact with it. We saw to-day, for the first time, a herd 
of eight or nine animals, feeding near the beach, which, from their dark colour, 
we supposed to be musk-oxen; and the officers of the Griper killed two white 
hares (Lepus Variabilis). The " young" or "bay" ice formed during the night 
in all the sheltered places about the floe, and particularly in the bight in 
which we were lying, to the thickness of three-quarters of an inch ; and the 
pools upon the floe were now almost entirely solid, affording the officers 
and men, during the time of our unavoidable detention, the usual healthy 
amusements of skating and sliding. 
AVed. 8. On the morning of the 8th, there being no prospect of any immediate 
alteration in the ice, I directed the boats to be sent on shore from both 
ships, to endeavour to procure some game, as well as to examine the pro- 
ductions of this part of the island. On going to the mast-head, shortly 
after the boats had been despatched, I found that the bight of ice in which 
the ships were lying was not one floe, but formed by the close junction 
of two, so that our situation was by no means so secure as I had sup- 
posed ; for this bight was so far from being a protection to us, in case of 
the ice driving on shore, that it would probably be the means of " nipping" 
us between the floes which formed it. I therefore determined on imme- 
diately removing the ships in-shore, and went in a boat to look out for 
a place for that purpose, there being no alternative between this and our 
returning some distance to the eastward, into the larger space of clear 
water which we had there left behind us. I found that a heavy piece of ice 
aground in twelve fathoms, at the distance of three hundred yards from 
the beach, would suit our purpose for the Hecla, and another, in ten 
fathoms, still nearer in-shore, was selected for the Griper. These masses 
were from twenty to thirty feet above the sea, and each about the length 
of the respective ships. The beach in this neighbourhood was so lined 
with ice of this kind, that it would not have been easy for a ship to 
have gone on shore in any part, there being generally from four to seven 
fathoms on the outside of it, while the inner part of each mass was 
literally upon the beach at low water. Some of the detached masses, at 
a little distance from the shore, must have accumulated very considera- 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 79 

bly since they grounded, or else must have been forced up into their pre- ]819. 
sent situations by an enormous pressure from without ; as some of those J^P^ 
now aground in four or five fathoms would have drawn at least ten, if set 
afloat again*. 

At four P.M., the weather being quite calm, the ships were towed in- 
shore by the boats, and made fast in the places selected for them. Our 
parties from the shore returned with a white hare, several fine ptarmigans, 
a few snow-buntings, some skulls of the musk-ox, and several rcin-deers' 
horns ; but they were not fortunate enough to meet with either of the two 
latter animals. The island is here, as in the other parts on which we had 
landed, principally composed of sandstone, of which some spherical nodules, 
one of them a^ large as a nine-pounder shot, were brought on board. Several 
lumps of coal, which was here more abundant than we had yet found it, 
were also picked up, and were found to burn with a clear lively flame, 
like cannel coal, but without splitting and crackling in the same manner. 

Impatient and anxious as we were to make the most of the short remainder Thurs. 9. 
of the present season, our mortification will easily be imagined at perceiving, 
on the morning of the 9th, not only that the ice was as close as ever to the 
westward, but that the floes in our innnediate neighbourhood were sensibly 
approaching the shore. As there was no chance, therefore, of our being en- 
abled to move, I sent a party on shore at day-light to collect what coal they 
could find, and in the course of the day nearly two-thirds of a bushel, being 
about equal to the Hecla's daily expenditure, was brought on board. Our 
sportsmen, who were out for several hours, could only procure us a hare, 
and a few ducks. 

The wind was light from the southward and westward, with foggy weather, 
which was afterwards succeeded by snow, and the ice continued gradually to 
close on the shore till at length a floe came in contact with our berg, but with 
so little violence as to produce no sensible effect upon it. The loose and heavy 
pieces of ice found their way in, and surrounded the Hecla on all sides, but 
produced no pressure from which any danger was to be apprehended. Con- 

* For want of some more appropriate name by which these masses of ice might be dis- 
tinguished, we were always in the habit of caUing them bergs, which indeed they exactly 
resemble, though comparatively of small dimensions, and evidently formed in a very 
different manner from those enormous ice-islands, which are met with in Baffin's Bay, but 
of which we saw none to the westward of Barrow's Strait. 



80 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

sidering our present detention so near the shore a good opportunity for observ- 
ing the time and rise of the tides, I caused a pole to be fixed on the beach for 
this purpose, by which it was found to be high water at half-past four in the 
morning; and the tide ebbed till half-past ten. From this time till three quar- 
ters after four P.M., when it was again high water, the tide had risen two feet 
eight inches; so that, small as this tide is, it seems to be very regular. The 
direction of the stream of flood was, as usual, not so easy to determine, but I 
shall give the facts as they occurred. At the time of low water by the shore, 
and for an hour and a quarter before it took place, the current was setting to 
the eastward, at the rate of three quarters of a mile per hour. It continued 
to run thus for the greater part of the day, but at times it was observed to set 
in the opposite direction, and now and then no current whatever was percep- 
tible. From eight till eleven P.M., it was running strong to the westward, 
after which it stopped, and then began to set the ice the contrary way. I have 
been thus minute in mentioning the above particulars, not with a hope of 
throwing any light upon the interesting question of the direction of the tides 
in tl|is part of the Polar Sea, but to shew how impossible it is, with the land 
close to us on one side, and on the other innumerable masses of ice in almost 
constant motion, to arrive at any satisfactory conclusion on this subject. 
Frid. 10. It was nearly calm on the 10th, with thick snowy weather, which prevented 
our seeing to any great distance round us. At five A.M., a floe coming from 
the westward, ran against the berg, within which the Hecla was still secured, 
turning it round as on a pivot. This occurrence is not an uncommon one in 
Davis' Strait, with bergs of very large size, when the centre part of them only 
happens to be upon the ground. We were by this time so surrounded by ice 
that no clear water was to be seen, except the small pool in which we lay ; and 
all that could be done, under such circumstances, was to watch the motion of 
the ice, and to be ready to shift the ship quickly round the berg, according as 
the floes, by setting one way or the other, might endanger her being "nipped." 
In the afternoon the ice slackened a little near us, when an attempt was made 
to get the Hecla into a more secure birth in-shore ; but, after heaving a heavy 
strain occasionally for several hours, we could only succeed before dark in 
getting her into a small nook near the beach, in which, if no very violent 
pressure occurred, she might be tolerably secure during the night. A party re- 
turned in the evening from a shooting-excursion to the western cape, bringing 
with them only three hares, and reporting that the sea was entirely covered 
with ice as far as they could see to the westward from the hills. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 81 

Mr. Fisher made an experiment on the specific gravity of a piece of ice, 
taken from the mass to which the ship was secured. Being formed into a cube, 
whose sides measured one foot three inches and a half, and set to float in the 
sea, two inches and three quarters of it remained above the surface, the tem- 
perature of the water at the time being 31°. 

On the 11th there was no alteration in the ice near the ships, and Mr. Bush- Sat. 11. 
nan, whom 1 despatched at day -light to the western cape, reported, on his return, 
that appearances were equally unpromising in that quarter. Mr. Dealy was 
fortunate enough to kill the first musk-ox that our sportsmen had yet been able 
to get near ; but, as it was at the distance of eight or ten miles from the ships, 
our present situation, with regard to the ice, would not allow of my sending a 
party of men to bring it on board. A piece of the meat which Mr. Dealy 
brought with him was considered to taste tolerably well, but its smell was by 
no means tempting. The dip of the magnetic needle, observed here by Captain 
Sabine to-day, was 88° 36'. 95. 

The wind increased to a fresh gale from the northward during the night, and Sun. 12. 
on the morning of the 12th flew round to the N.N.W. in a very violent gust. 
Soon after the ice began to drift past us to the eastward, at the rate of a mile 
an hour, and carried away Avith it the berg to which the Hecla had been at- 
tached on the 9th and 10th ; so that we considered ourselves fortunate in having 
moved to our present birth, which was comparatively a safe one. The Griper 
remained also tolerably secure, and well sheltered from the drifting ice, which 
in the course of the forenoon, had acquired a velocity of more than a mile and 
a half per hour. In the afternoon the ice began by degrees to drift from the 
shore to the westward of us, but the wind blowing hard from the wrong 
quarter, it was impossible to think of moving the ships. A constant and 
vigilant look-out was also necessary, lest the berg to which our hawsers were 
secured should be forced off the ground, in which case we must inevitably have 
been driven back many miles to the eastward, and the labour of the last ten 
days would have been lost in a few hours. The night was cold and inclement, 
with a heavy fall of snow, which being blown among the hills, caused great 
drifts in the ravines, by which this part of the island is intersected. 

I must now mention an occurrence which had caused considerable appre- 
hension in our minds for the two last days, and the result of which had nearly 
proved of very serious importance to the future welfare of the expedition. 
Early on the morning of the 11th 1 received a note from Lieutenant Liddon, 
acquainting me thi*t, at day-light the preceding day, Mr. Fife, with a party of 

M 



82 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

six men, had been despatched from the Griper, with the hope of surprising 
some rein-deer and musk-oxen, whose tracks had been seen in a ravine to the 
westward of the ships. As they had not yet returned, in compliance with the 
instructions given to Mr. Fife, and had only been supplied with a small quan- 
tity of provisions, it was natural to apprehend that they had lost their way in 
pursuit of game, more especially as the night had been too inclement for them 
to have voluntarily exposed themselves to it. I therefore recommended to 
Lieutenant Liddon to send a party in search of his people, and Messrs. Reid, 
Beverly, and Wakeham, who immediately volunteered their services on the 
occasion, were accordingly despatched for this purpose. Soon after their de- 
parture, however, it began to snow, which rendered the atmosphere so ex- 
tremely thick, especially on the hills along which they had to travel, that this 
party also lost their way in spite of every precaution, but fortunately got 
sight of our rockets after dark, by which they were directed to the ships, and 
returned at ten o'clock, almost exhausted with cold and fatigue, without any 
intelligence of the absentees. > 

At day-light on the following morning I sent Lieutenant Hoppner, with the 
Hecla's fore-royal-mast rigged as a flag-staff, which he erected on a conspicuous 
hill four or five miles inland, hoisting upon it a large ensign, which might be 
seen at a considerable distance in every direction. This expedient occurred to 
us as a more certain mode of directing our absentees towards the ships than 
that of sending out a number of parties, which I could not, in common pru- 
dence, as well as humanity, permit to go to any great distance from the ships ; 
but the snow fell so thick, and the drift was so great, during the whole of the 
12th, that no advantage could at that time be expected from it, and another 
night came without the absent paity appearing. 
Mon. 13. - Our apprehensions on their account had by this time increased to a most 
painful degree, and I therefore ordered four parties, under the command of 
careful officers, to be prepared to set out in search of them the following 
morning. These parties carried with them a number of pikes, having small 
flags attached to them, which they were directed to plant at regular inter- 
vals, and which were intended to answer the double purpose of guiding 
themselves on their return, and of directing the absent party, should 
they meet with them, to the ships. For the latter purpose a bottle was 
fixed to each pike, containing the necessary directions for their guidance, 
and acquainting them that provisions would be found at the large flag-stafF 
on the hill. Our searching parties left the ships soon after day-light, the 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 83 

wind still blowing hard from the westward, with incessant snow, and the 
thermometer at 28°. This weather continued without intermission during 
the day, and our apprehensions for the safety of our people were excited to 
a most alarming degree, when the sun began to descend behind the western 
hills, for the third time since they had left the ship ; I will not, therefore, 
attempt to describe the joyful feelings we suddenly experienced, on the 
Griper's hoisting the signal appointed, to inform us that her men, or a part of 
them, were seen on their return. Soon after we observed seven persons 
coming along the beach from the eastward, who proved to be Mr. Nias 
and his party, with four out of the seven men belonging to the Griper. 
From the latter, consisting of the corporal of marines and three sea- 
men, we learned that they had lost their way within a few hours after 
leaving the ship, and had wandered about without any thing to guide 
them till about ten o'clock on the following day, when they descried the 
large flag-staff, at a great distance. At this time the whole party were 
together ; but now, unfortunately, separated, in consequence of a difference 
of opinion respecting the flagstaff, which Mr. Fife mistook for a smaller one 
that had been erected some days before at a considerable distance to the east- 
ward of our present situation ; and, with that impression, walked away in a 
contrary direction, accompanied by two of his men. The other four who had 
now returned, (of whom two were already much debilitated,) determined to 
make for the flag-staff. When they had walked some distance and were enabled 
to ascertain what it was, one of them endeavoured to overtake Mr. Fife, but was 
too much fatigued, and returned to his comrades. They halted during a part 
of the night, made a sort of hut of stones and turf to shelter them from the 
weather, and kindled a little fire with gunpowder and moss to warm their 
feet ; they had never been in actual want of food, having lived upon raw 
grouse, of which they were enabled to obtain a quantity sufficient for their 
subsistence. In the morning they once more set forward towards the flag- 
staff, which they reached within three or four hours after Lieutenant Beechey 
had left some provisions on the spot : having eaten some bread, and drank a 
little rum and water, a mixture which they described as appearing to them per- 
fectly tasteless and clammy, they renewed their journey towards the ships, 
and had not proceeded far when, notwithstanding the snow which was con- 
stantly falling, they met with footsteps which directed them to Mr. Nias and 
his party, by whom they were conducted to the ships. 

The account they gave us of Mr. Fife and his two companions, led us to 



84 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. believe that we should find them, if still living, at a considerable distance to 
v.^^^ the westward, and some parties were just about to set out in that direction, 
when the trouble and anxiety which this mistake would have occasioned us 
were prevented by the arrival of another of the searching parties, with the in- 
formation that Mr. Fife and the two men were on their way to the ships, being 
about five miles to the eastward. Some fresh hands were immediately sent to 
bring them in, and they arrived on board at ten P.M., after an absence of 
ninety-one hours, and having been exposed, during three nights, to the incle- 
mency of the first wintry weather we had experienced. Almost the whole of 
this party were much exhausted by cold and fatigue, and several of them were 
severely frost-bitten in their toes and fingers ; but, by the skill and unremitted 
attention of our medical gentlemen, they were in a few days enabled to return 
to their duty. 

Before midnight we had still greater reason than ever to be thankful for 
the opportune recovery of our people ; for the wind increased to a hard gale 
about half-past eleven, at which time the thermometer had fallen to 15° ; 
making altogether so inclement a night, as it would have been impossible fiDr 
them, in their already debilitated state, to have survived. In humble gra- 
titude to God for this signal act of mercy, we distinguished the headland to 
the westward of the ships, by the name of Cape Providence. 
Tues. 14. Soon after midnight, the land-ice which was interposed between the Hecla 
and the beach, and to which the ship was partly secured, broke adrift, and 
floated off" the ground ; fortunately, however, we were prepared to cut the 
shore hawsers, by which means we avoided the danger of being carried off 
the shore, being well secured to the little berg a-head of us, which appeared 
to be firmly aground in ten fathoms' water. The stream cable was afterwards 
taken to the beach, and I determined, should the berg go adrift, to cut away 
our hawsers from it ; and, having checked the ship by the stream-cable till 
she swung into five fathoms, at the distance of forty or fifty yards from 
the shore, to let go a bower anchor, till the wind should moderate. I com- 
municated my intention to Lieutenant Liddon during the day, and directed 
him, in case of necessity, rather to run the Griper on the soft beach near us, 
than to risk being driven back to the eastward. Fortunately, however, it was 
not necessary to resort to this measure, as the ice held fast on the ground, 
notwithstanding the violence of the wind, and some sea which got up from 
the westward, as the space of open water between the land and the ice 
increased in that direction. At three A.M. this morning, the thermometer 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 85 

had been as low as 9°, and rose gradually to 17°, at midnight. The sudden 1^819 
and unexpected decrease in the general temperature of the atmosphere about 



this period was a very striking one ; and from this time, as will appear by 
the Meteorological Register, the commencement of winter may fairly 
be dated. 

Our flag-staves we brought on board early in the morning of the 15th, Wed. 15. 
and at ten A.M., the wind being somewhat more moderate, the stream-cable 
was cast off from the shore, in readiness for making sail ; but the wind 
freshened up once more to a strong gale, which rendered it necessary still to 
hold on by our hawsers. In the evening the stream-cable was taken on shore 
again, and we landed to make observations for the variation of the needle, 
which was found to be 1 17° 52' 22" easterly. 

It was observed, for the first time, that a strong current was setting to the Thur. 16. 
westward during the whole of the last night, directly against a fresh gale from 
that quarter. At nine A.M., the wind being much more moderate, as well 
as more off the land, and the weather fine and clear, we cast off, and 
made all sail to the westward, running along the land at the distance of 
two or three miles from it. At a quarter before noon, we were abreast 
of Cape Providence, beyond which, at the distance of three or four leagues, 
another headland, still more high and bold in its appearance, was dis- 
covered, and named after Mr. Hay, Private Secretary to the First Lord of the 
Admiralty. At the place which we left in the morning, the ice had been 
driven from the shore to the distance of six or seven miles ; but we found, as 
we proceeded, that the channel became gradually more and more contracted, 
till at length the ice was observed to extend, in a solid and impenetrable 
body, completely in to the very shore, a little to the eastward of Cape Hay. 
Our latitude, by account at noon, was 74° 23' 25", longitude 112° 29' 30". 

The wind again freshened to a strong gale in the afternoon, reducing us to our 
close-reefed topsails, which were as much as the ship would bear, the squalls 
blowing out of the ravines with extreme violence. It became necessary, 
therefore, to look out for a secure situation for the ships during the ensuing 
night, which threatened to be a tempestuous one; but no such situation pre- 
sented itself in this neighbourhood ; the whole of the coast to the westward 
of Cape Providence being so steep, that the heaviest ice can find no ground 
to rest upon. I was therefore reduced to the disagreeable necessity of run- 
ning back to the lower shore three miles and a half to the eastward of Cape 
Providence, where alone the ships could, under present circumstances, be 



86 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. placed in tolerable security during six or seven hours of darkness. We found 
<iy~^ here twenty-three fathoms at three hundred yards from the shore, and had 
fifteen under our stern, at the distance of one hundred and fifty yards. As it 
was nearly dark before the Griper arrived, when it is difficult to secure a 
ship to the ice. Lieutenant Liddon found it necessary to run into four fathoms, 
at one hundred yards from the beech, and there to drop his bower anchor. At 
half-past ten P.M., a large mass of ice, which had been aground near us, was 
set afloat by the swell and drifted off shore. A strong westerly current, 
which was still running to windward, set this ice across our stern, and 
occasioned the ship to strike violently several times upon a " tongue" pro- 
jecting from it under water : the shocks exactly resembled those of a ship 
striking the ground, and the rudder was forcibly lifted two or three times, 
but fortunately without receiving any damage. I afterwards learned from 
Lieutenant Liddon, that a great quantity of the land-ice had been drifting off 
in large pieces during the night near the spot where the Griper had anchored, 
keeping her crew employed for several hours in veering and heaving in cable, 
in order to avoid it. 
Frid.17. At nine A.M. on the 17th, the wind being more moderate and the 
weather fine, we cast off and ran along the land ; but had not proceeded 
far when it was perceived that the ice, in very heavy and compact floes of 
more than usual dimensions, still extended close into the shore near Cape 
Hay. We observed, at noon, in latitude 74° 22' 15", our longitude, by 
account, being 112° 51'; and, in the afternoon, stood close in to the high 
land, which here gives the island a new character, and tacked in forty-three 
fathoms, at the distance of five hundred yards from the shore. Further out we 
obtained no soundings ; indeed I deemed it so essential to make the most of 
the day -light in examining the state of the ice to the westward, that I did not 
choose to heave-to for that purpose ; but the appearance of the land, and the 
soundings found in-shore, indicate a considerable depth of water on this part 
of the coast. 

The current which, for the last two days, had been setting to the westward, 
and which could not possibly have escaped our observation, had it existed 
previous to the late westerly and north-westerly gales, was here found to be 
running even stronger than we had before remarked it. This was made parti- 
cularly obvious when, having reached the farthest point westward, to which we 
could prudently venture to carry the ships, we were obliged to heave-to, 
in order to watch for any opening that might favour our views. The ships 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 87 

were at this time drifting to leeward through the water at the rate of 1819. 
about a mile and a quarter an hour ; in spite of which they went so fast v3^^ 
to the westward by the land, that Lieutenant Beechey and myself esti- 
mated the current to be running at least two. miles per hour in that di- 
rection. I must here remark that, besides the current to which I have 
now alluded, and by which the floes and other heam/ masses of ice ap- 
peared to be affected, there was as usual in this navigation, a superficial 
current also, setting the smaller pieces past the others at a much quicker 
rate. In the course of this narrative, I shall have frequent occasion to remark, 
how, immediately after the springing up of a breeze, such a current ge- 
nerally commences running upon the surface in the Polar seas. 

Of the causes which now produced this strong westerly current, at a 
time when the contrary might rather have been anticipated, it is of course not 
easy, with our present limited experience of this part of the Polar Sea, 
to offer any very probable conjecture ; but the impression upon our minds at 
the time was, that it was perhaps caused by the re-action of the water, 
which had been forced to the eastward in the early part of the late gales, 
against the ice with which the sea was almost entirely covered in that 
direction. Be this as it may, however, we did not fail to draw from it 
one conclusion, Avhich was favourable to the object we had in view ; 
namely, that the drift of so large a body of ice for days together in a 
westerly direction, indicated a considerable space of open sea somewhere 
in that quarter. I was, on every account, therefore, desirous to take ad-- 
vantage of a current which was setting us so fast in the desired direction, 
and, with that view, had come to the determination to anchor the ships 
to an immense field of ice^ over Avhich we could not see from the mast- 
head, and of which the thickness was greater than any I had ever be- 
fore seen ; by which means we were in hopes of making some progress, 
notwithstanding the unfavourable appearances before us. Ere this could 
be effected, however, it was perceived that the main body of the ice 
was not only setting to the westward, but was also rapidly approaching 
the shore ; so that it was impossible to adopt the proposed measure, with- 
out incurring the serious risk of being enclosed between them. Finding that 
no further progress could possibly be made at present, and the wind again 
freshening up from the westward, with heavy squalls of snow, I was once 
more under the necessity of returning to the eastward till some land-ice could 
be met with, to which the ships might be secured for the night. They were 



88 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. accordingly made fast in a proper birth of this kind, not far from that which 
v^?,J we had occupied the preceding night, in fifteen fathoms' water, and at a hun- 
dred and fifty yards from the beach. 

I entertained a hope that our people, and especially the Griper's crew, who 
. were still much reduced by the effects of their late sufferings and fatigues, 
would have been allowed a good night's rest, of which they stood much in need, 
in order to prepare them for fresh exertions in the morning ; but, at eight P.M., 
while it was fortunately yet light enough to see about us, it was perceived that 
a large floe to the south-east had very much neared the shore since we an- 
chored, rendering it necessary immediately to leave our present situation, 
where there was not a single mass of grounded ice on the outside to afford 
the smallest shelter to the ships. I determined, therefore, to stand back to 
the eastward, and as the night was, for the first time this fortnight past, very 
fine and moderate, to keep the ships under way, and to regulate our course, 
in the best manner Ave could, by the stars. We had at this time a fine work- 
ing breeze off the land, but it gradually died away towards midnight, after 
which the " young" ice began to form so rapidly on the surface of the sea, that 
we could scarcely get the ships to move through the water ; and at six A.M. 
Sat. 18. on the 18th, when we were wiihin a quarter of a mile of the shore, their 
way was altogether stopped. The current was still running so fast to the 
westward, that we were now swept back along the land at the rate of a mile 
and a quarter per hour. An attempt was, therefore, made to run a line to the 
shore, but the " young" ice had become so " tough," that the boats could not 
succeed in getting through it, while at the same time it was much too weak to 
/ allow of their being hauled over it, not exceeding an inch in thickness. As 
the main body of the ice to the southward of us Avas now perceived to be in 
motion towards the shore, it became essential to the safety of the ships that 
they should be got in to the beach in order to secure them, if possible, within 
the land ice ; and, as the current was now rather carrying us into deeper 
water, I directed the ships to be anchored, as the only means of retaining them 
in their present situation till the lines could be run out to the shore. As soon 
as Ave had anchored, a second attempt was made to effect this, but with as little 
success as before, and Ave Avere very glad to get the boats on board again, the 
young ice having nearly carried them aAvay from us to the Avestward. As the 
day advanced, however, this ice became gradually thinner and less conti- 
nuous ; so that, after much unavailing labour, Ave at length succeeded in 
geiting a hawser to the beach, by watching the little openings, and taking the 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 89 

opportunity of pushing the boats through them. All the hands which now 18 19 
remained on board the Hecla were occupied in weighing the anchor, a service v^r^ 
which we could not possibly have mustered strength enough to perform, but 
for the cheerfulness and zeal Avith which the officers volunteered on this, as 
on various other occasions, to man the capstan. Having at length, with much 
difficulty, effected this, we were beginning to haul the ship in towards the 
beach, when the wind shifted to the south-west, which is rather upon this shore. 
It was uncertain what change this might produce in the motion of the floes, 
which seemed to be enclosing us rapidly on every side, and as the bay-ice had 
now nearly disappeared, it was considered advisable to make sail upon the 
ships, so as to be ready to take advantage of any alteration that might occur. 
I sent to Lieutenant Ijiddon to desire, that, in case of the ice closing upon us, 
and of his being unable to find a proper security for the Griper within the 
grounded ice, he would at once run her bow upon the softest part of the 
beach, so that the floes might, perhaps, force her up without much damage ; 
whereas it would be attended with almost certain destruction to the ships, 
should they be caught between the floes and the heavy masses of ice with which 
this beach was, for the most part, lined. 

By the time that we had made sail, the ice had completely surrounded us 
touching the land to the eastward as well as to the westward, and leaving us 
only a small pool of open water, in which we were at liberty to beat about. 
To the eastward, however, we could perceive from the crow's nest, that there 
was still a considerable channel of clear water, and our only chance of getting- 
into it was by narrowly watching for any opening that might occur in the ice 
which now opposed a formidable barrier to our escape in that direction. At 
half-past one P.M., it was observed that a floe, which formed the principal ob- 
struction to our progress eastward, and which the current was rapidly carrying 
along the shore, had at length come violently in contact with a small point of 
land near us, and was now receding from it by its own re-action. We stood 
towards this opening, in order to observe it more distinctly, and I hailed the 
Griper to desire Lieutenant Liddon to be in readiness to make sail, should it 
appear sufficiently broad for our purpose. On approaching this spot, we found 
the passage about three hundred yards wide between the land and the ice • 
and as there was no time either for deliberation or for sounding the channel, 
all the studding-sails were instantly set in both ships, and we pushed through 
the opening at the distance of a hundred yards from the beach, having no less 
than ten fathoms' water. 



90 VOYAGE FOR, THE DISCOVERY 

1819. It was impossible not to consider ourselves fortunate in having escaped the 
^,^4^ danger which had lately threatened the ships ; but another difficulty now pre- 
sented itself which we had not anticipated. This was occasioned by finding 
nearly the whole surface of that part of the sea, which at a distance had ap- 
peared to us open, covered with a coating of young ice of sufficient thickness 
to offer a considerable impediment to the ships, when sailing with a strong and 
favourable breeze. To give some idea of the degree of obstruction occa- 
sioned by this ice, whose thickness did not generally exceed half an inch, it 
may be sufficient to state, that with such a quantity of sail as would certainly 
have propelled the Hecla six miles and a half an hour, if unimpeded in this 
way, she did not average more than four miles. This remark must be under- 
stood to apply to ice of this kind, when of a single thickness, and in the 
state in which it is naturally formed upon the surface. But, whenever, by 
any pressure on either side, the sheet is broken, and the edges of one part 
forced under those of another, causing them to overlay each other, the whole 
thickness of the ice is of course augmented, and the impediment to a ship 
becomes greater in proportion to the frequency with which this occurs. 
Where this has taken place, the ice, being too thick to allow the water to be 
seen through it, is distinguished by the whiteness of its appearance ; the 
white ice, therefore, is to be avoided in sailing, as much as possible. 

It was my intention, as usual with us of late, to sail along the shore till 
we came to any land-ice calculated to afford shelter to the ships during the 
night. As we ran along, however, it was soon perceived that the main body 
of the ice was very rapidly approaching the shore, at the same time that the 
westerly current was still carrying in that direction ; the ships were imme- 
diately hauled in-shore, to find the best security against it which circum- 
stances would admit, but the bay-ice had in this place become so thickened 
by the continued pressure of the floes upon it from without, that the ships 
were shortly arrested in their progress, being about one mile distant from the 
land. Every expedient to break the ice, usual in such cases, was resorted 
to, without our being able to move the ships a single foot a-head. The floe 
continued rapidly closing on the shore, forcing the ships in before it, and bring- 
ing with it so much of the bay-ice, that it was needless any longer to 
employ the people in attempting to break it: to anchor seemed now the 
only mode Ave had left to avoid being driven on shore, or, what was much 
more to be apprehended, being forced by the floes against the heavy ice 
on the beach. We waited, therefore, till at seven P.M. we had shoaled 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 91 

the water gradually from twenty-nine to nine fathoms, and then dropped the 
bower-anchor. When the ship swung in-shore by the continued pressure of 
the ice, we had still seven fathoms under the stern, our distance from the 
beach being about forty yards. We now seemed to have got rather within 
the drift of the main body of ice, which passed us to the westward at the 
rate of two miles an hour ; but, at length, the point of a large field, which 
had hitherto not approached the shore nearer than two or three hundred 
yards, was observed to be rapidly nearing us. Immediately to the westward 
of the spot where the Hecla's anchor had been dropped, some very heavy ice, 
which, for distinction's sake, we called a berg, projected from the beach to 
the distance of a hundred and fifty yards. The ships had fortunately been 
forced by the ice, one on each side of this projecting point ; for at eight P.M. 
the field came in contact with it with a tremendous crash, piling up the 
enormous fragments of ice in the most awful and terrific manner ; this 
seemed to break, in some degree the force with which the ice had been 
driving ; a force which may almost be considered incalculable, as we could 
not see over the field in motion from our mast-head. We were at this 
time within a hundred yards of the point, and had, therefore, great reason 
to be thankful for having escaped being carried into a situation in which 
no human power or skill could have saved the ships from instant de- 
struction. 

As the pressure of the bay-ice around the ship continued to increase, she 
was carried gradually in towards the shore, and as nothing was now to be 
expected but her being driven on the beach, I ordered the rudder to be 
lifted, the sails to be furled, and the top-gallant yards to be ready for 
striking. At half-past eight P.M., the Hecla had tailed into three fathoms 
and a half, about fifteen yards from the beach. The quantity of bay-ice 
which was squeezed up between the ship and the shore had by this time be- 
come so great, that it would easily bear the boats and the men, the former of 
which were hauled over the ice to enable us to hoist them up. It seemed 
also to serve the useful purpose of a fender to keep the ship off the ground, 
which she did not appear to touch in any part. 

In the meantime, the Griper had been carried into a situation nearly 
similar to ours, on the opposite side of the berg, by which she was partly 
hidden from our view. We observed her heel over very much at times, but 
knowing that a very trifling pressure was with her sufficient to produce this 
effect, little apprehension was entertained on that account, I subsequently 



. 92 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. learned from Lieutenant Liddon, that when the field of ice closed upon us, 
\^-Y->L' a point of it had caught the Griper's chain-cable, by which the anchor 
was immediately started, and the vessel carried towards the shore. The 
cable was dragged out so swiftly, that it could not be slipped, and, in a few 
minutes, the space between the two hawse-holes was completely cut through. 
The cable parted soon after, and the other anchor being let go, brought 
the ship up in time to prevent her going on shore. The Griper also lost 
one of her boats on this occasion, but was fortunate in sustaining no ma- 
terial injury. 

At nine P.M., the ice moved a few hundred yards off the land, and the 
opportunity was taken to heave the Hecla into a little nook, formed by the 
grounded ice, where we lay without disturbance during the night. The 
officers and men were much fatigued by this day's exertions, and I directed 
the main brace to be spliced, and an extra-allowance of preserved meat to 
be served. 
Sun. 19. At day-light, on the 19th, the field-ice had drifted about a mile from the 
land, the intermediate space being almost entirely occupied by innumerable 
loose fragments cemented together by bay-ice, so as to form one connected 
and impenetrable body. The weather was nearly calm with continued snow, 
and the ice remained tolerably quiet during the day. 
Moil. 20. Early on the morning of the 20th, the breeze freshened up from the 
N.N.E., and soon after four A.M., the ice began to open out from the 
shore. It did not, however, take a direction immediately off the land, 
though the wind was nearly so, for there was still a current Avhich carried the 
floes to the westward; and some of the projecting points came very near the 
land. Some of these missed the Hecla by about a hundred yards ; but at 
half-past eight, one of them was observed to be moving directly into the bight 
where the Griper was lying. In a few minutes after this, we perceived her to 
heel so much, that no doubt could be entertained of her having been forced on 
shore by the ice. Having sent Mr. Palmer round by land to inquire what 
was her situation, I was informed that she was aground on the beach, having 
only seven feet water on the inside, and the ice still continuing to press 
upon her from without. I therefore consulted my officers as to the measures 
it would, under these circumstances, be most prudent to adopt, and des- 
patched Lieutenant Beechey round to the Griper, to explain my intentions to 
Lieutenant Liddon. I proposed, if the Griper required lightening con- 
siderably before she could be hove off, an operation which, in her present 







~^4 



^ 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 93 

situation, it would require some time to perform, to get the Hecla, as quickly 
as possible, into the tirst place of security we could find, and then to march 
all hands round to the Griper, for the purpose of getting her afloat. 

Shortly after our leaving England, Lieutenant Liddon had been unfor- 
tunately attacked with a severe rheumatic complaint, Avhich confined him to 
his cabin during our passage across the Atlantic, but of which he so far re- 
covered, soon after our making the ice in June, as to be able constantly to 
attend to his duty on deck during the rest of the summer. The harassing cir- 
cumstances, however, which had attended our exertions for the last fortnight, 
and the sensible change which had lately taken place in the temperature of 
the atmosphere, had combined to produce a serious alteration for the worse ; 
so that at the time of the Griper's being driven on shore, he was again 
reduced to a very debilitated state. On this account I proposed to him to 
allow himself to be removed on board the Hecla, until the Griper should be 
got afloat again. To this proposal, however, he would by no means listen, 
assuring me, that he should be the last man, instead of the first, to leave 
the Griper ; and he remained seated against the lee side of the deck during 
the greater part of the day, giving the necessary orders. 

The wind continuing strong from the northward, the ice left the shore 
very rapidly in the afternoon, so that, by one P.M., there was once more a 
little clear water about the ships. Before Lieutenant Beechey left the Griper, 
they had been enabled to get the hand-lead down on the sea-side of the vessel, 
where they found between fifteen and sixteen feet water ; and, as the tide 
was now rising, we began to entertain great hopes of her coming off the 
shore without difficulty or damage. Soon after noon we perceived that 
she had righted considerably, and at two P.M., we were informed by tele- 
graph that she was afloat. A party of our hands was sent on board to assist 
in making her snug, that she might be ready for moving whenever the ice 
would permit. The wind blew hard from the northward during the night, 
with a good deal of snow ; and the thermometer was at 10|° at midnight. 
The Aurora Borealis was seen faintly in the S.S.W. quarter of the 
heavens. 

The advanced period of the season, the unpromising appearance of the 
ice to the westward, and the risk to the ships with which the navigation 
had been attended for some days past, naturally led me to the conclusion 
that, under these circumstances, the time had arrived, when it became ab- 
solutely necessary to look out for winter-quarters. Among the circumstances 



M VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. which now rendered this navigation more than usually perilous, and the 
<,,J^ hope of success proportionally less, there was none which gave more rea- 
sonable ground for apprehension than the incredible rapidity with which the 
young ice formed upon the surface of the sea, during the greater part of the 
twenty-four hours. It had become evident, indeed, that it could only be 
attributed to the strong winds which had lately prevailed, that the sea was 
not at this time permanently frozen over ; for, whenever the wind blew less 
than a gale, that formation took place immediately, and went on with such 
astonishing rapidity, that had the weather continued calm for more than four- 
and-twenty hours together, it seemed to me extremely probable, that we 
must have passed the winter in our present exposed and insecure situation. 

From this and various other considerations, which the account of our late 
proceedings will naturally suggest, I considered it a duty incumbent upon 
me to call for the opinions of the senior* officers of the expedition, as to the 
expediency of immediately seeking a harbour, in which the ships might 
securely lie during the ensuing winter. The opinions of the officers en- 
tirely concurring with my own, as to the propriety of immediately resorting 
to this measure, I determined, whenever the ice and the weather would allow, 
to run back to the Bay of the Hecla and Griper, in which neighbourhood alone 
we had any reason to believe that a suitable harbour might be found. 

Tues.21. It blew a hard gale from the northward during the night, by which means 
the floes were kept at a distance from the land, and by the bay-ice prevented 
from forming under the lee of it. The sea to the eastward was not, however, 
sufficiently clear, nor the wind moderate enough during the 21st, to allow us 
to move the ships. The land was now almost entirely covered with snow, 
and, as we afterwards found, remained so during the winter. A few coveys 
of the ptarmigan were seen near the beach during the time that we remained 
at this station. 

Wed. 22. At half-past two, on the morning of the 22d, the night-signal was made to 
weigh, and we began to heave, at our cables ; but such was the difficulty of 
raising our anchor, and of hauling in our hawsers, owing to the stiffiiess of 
the ropes from frost, and thie quantity of ice which had accumulated about 
them, that it was five o'clock before the ships were under way. Our rudder 
also was so choked by the ice which had formed about it, that it could not 
hv moved till a boat had been hauled under the stern, and the ice beaten 
and cut a,way from it. We ran along to the eastward without any obstruc- 
tion, in a channel about five miles wide, till we were within four or 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 95 

five miles of Cape Hearne, where the bay-ice, in unbroken sheets of about 
one-third of an inch iu thickness, began to offer considerable impediment to 
our progress. We were abreast of the point at noon, and here our prospect 
was rather discouraging ; the anchorage in the bay was quite free from any 
obstruction, but a space of three or four miles to the north-eastward of Cape 
Hearne, was completely covered with bay-ice, which made it more than pro- 
bable that we should altogether be excluded from the roadstead. We entered 
this ice under a press of sail, the wind blowing strong from the northward, 
and found it to consist principally of that kind which, from its appearance, 
is technically called " pancake-icfe," and which, though it considerably re- 
tarded our progress in beating to windward, did not offer so serious an im- 
pediment as we had expected. At half-past two P.M., in swinging the 
main-topsail-yard in stays, it was unfortunately carried away in the slings, 
but this accident was quickly repaired by the zealous exertions of the 
officers and men. As I saw that the Griper, which had dropped several 
miles astern in the course of the day, could not possibly reach the anchorage 
before dark, and being apprehensive that by a too anxious endeavour to 
effect that object, she might become frozen up at sea during the night, I 
made Lieutenant Liddon's signal to secure his ship to the grounded ice off 
Cape Hearne, which he accordingly did. Soon after the sun had set, I had 
reason to entertain the same apprehension for the Hecla ; for the young ice 
began, as usual, to form upon the surface of the water, and in an hour's 
time offered so considerable a resistance to the ship's motion, though under a 
press of canvass, and with a fresh breeze, as to make it doubtful for some 
time whether we should reach the anchorage. We at length, however, 
struck soundings with twenty-nine fathoms of line, and at eight P.M. anchored 
in nine fathoms, on a muddy bottom, a little to the eastward of our situation 
on the 5th. 

The wind continued northerly, with a heavy fall of snow during the night. Thur.23. 
At half-past six A.M. on the 23d, there being fortunately so little bay-ice 
that a boat could easily pull through it, I left the ship, accompanied by 
Mr. Nias, to examine Fife's harbour, which had been reported to me as 
affording good shelter, but having a bar across its entrance, I directed 
Lieutenant Beechey at the same time to get the Hecla under way, and to 
anchor wherever I should lay down a buoy for that purpose. My mortification 
may well be imagined at finding, on my arrival off Fife's harbour, that it was 
covered with one solid sheet of ice from six to twelve inches in thickness. 



96 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

which had been entirely formed since our last visit to this place. I landed 
on the west side of the harbour, and being soon after joined by a boat from 
the Griper, which vessel was beating up from Cape Hearne, I was informed 
by Mr. Slcene, that a second bay or harbour had been seen by the officers 
on the former occasion, a short distance to the Avestward of this. We lost no 
time, therefore, in rowing there, having first laid down a buoy, near which 
the Hecla was to anchor, and made the necessary signal to Lieutenant 
Beechey. 

In going to the westward, we passed a shoal and open bay, immediately 
adjacent to the harbour which we were now about to examine, and soon after 
came to a reef of rocks, in some parts nearly dry, extending about three- 
quarters of a mile to the southward of a low point on the south-eastern side 
of the harbour. On rounding the reef, on which a quantity of heavy ice 
was lying aground, we found that a continuous floe, four or five inches in 
thickness, was formed over the whole harbour, which in every other respect, 
appeared to be fit for our purpose ; and that it would be necessary to cut a 
canal of two miles in length through the ice, in order to get the ships into a 
secure situation for the winter. We sounded the channel into the harbour 
for about three-quarters of a mile, by making holes in the ice and dropping 
the lead through, and found the depth from five to six fathoms. 

Having ascertained thus far, it remained for me to sound the bar of Fife's 
harbour, and then to choose between the two places. I returned on board, 
therefore, for the boats' crews to dine, and then proceeded in execution of 
this object. The entrance into Fife's harbour is extremely narrow, which 
enabled us the sooner to determine the utter impracticability of getting the 
ships into it, as we found the depth on the bar to be barely twelve feet at 
high water and a spring tide. I returned on board, therefore, and deter- 
mined on taking the ships round the reef to the entrance of the westernmost 
harbour, on the following morning. A good deal of snow fell this evening, 
and the young ice formed on the surface after sun-set. 
Frid.24. The ships weighed at six A.M. on the 24th, the wind being still at north, 
and the weather moderate and fine. As soon as the Hecla was under sail, I 
went a-head in a boat to sound, and to select an anchorage for the ships. 
In running to the westward towards the point of the reef, we had no less 
than three fathoms and three quarters ; and, by keeping farther off shore, we 
might have had much deeper water, but the wind being scant, it was neces- 
sary to keep well to the northward. Near the south-western point of this 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 97 

harbour there is a remarkable block of sandstone, somewhat resembling the 
roof of a house, on which the ships' names were subsequently engraved by 
Mr. Fisher. This stone is very conspicuous in coming from the eastward, 
and when kept open to the southward of the grounded ice at the end of the 
reef, forms a good leading mark for the channel into the harbour. Off the 
end of the reef the water deepened to six fathoms, and the Hecla's anchor 
was dropped in eight fathoms, half a mile within the reef, and close to the 
edge of the ice through which the canal was to be cut. The Griper arrived 
soon after, and by half-past eight A.M. both ships were secured in the proper 
position for commencing the intended operations. 

As soon as our people had breakfasted I proceeded, with a small party of 
men, to sound, and to mark with boarding-pikes upon the ice, the most direct 
channel we could find to the anchorage ; having left directions for every other 
officer and man in both ships to be employed in cutting the canal. This opera- 
tion was performed by first marking out two parallel lines, distant from each 
other a little more than the breadth of the larger ship. Along each of these 
lines a cut was then made with an ice-saw, and others again at right angles to 
them, at intervals of from ten to twenty feet ; thus dividing the ice into a 
number of rectangular pieces, which it was again necessary to subdivide dia- 
gonally, in order to give room for their being floated out of the canal. On 
returning from the upper part of the harbour, where I had marked out what 
appeared to be the best situation for our winter-quarters, I found that consi- 
derable progress had been made in cutting the canal, and in floating the pieces 
out of it. To facilitate the latter part of the process, the seamen, who are 
always fond of doing things in their own way, took advantage of a fresh 
northerly breeze, by setting some boats' sails upon the pieces of ice, a con- 
trivance which saved both time and labour. This part of the operation, 
however, was by far the most troublesome, principally on account of the 
quantity of young ice which formed in the canal, and especially about the 
entrance, where, before sun-set, it had become so thick that a passage could 
no longer be found for the detached pieces, without considerable trouble in 
breaking it. At half past seven P.M. we weighed our anchors, and began to 
warp up the canal, but the northerly wind blew so fresh, and the people were 
so much fatigued, having been almost constantly at work for nineteen hours, 
that it was midnight before we reached the termination of our first day's labour. 
While we were thus employed, about nine o'clock a vivid flash of light was 
observed, exactly like lightning. There was at the same time, and during the 

o 



98 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

greater part of the night, a permanent brightness in the northern quarter of 
the heavens, which was probably occasioned by the Aurora Borealis. I di- 
rected half a pound of fresh meat per man to be issued, as an extra allowance ; 
and this was continued daily till the completion of our present undertaking. 

Sat. 25. All hands were again set to work on the morning of the 25th, when it was 
proposed to sink the pieces of ice, as they were cut, under the floe, instead of 
floating them out, the latter mode having now become impracticable on ac- 
count of the lower part of the canal, through which the ships had passed, 
being hard frozen during the night. To eflfect this, it was necessary for a 
certain number of men to stand upon one end of the piece of ice which it was 
intended to sink, while other parties, hauling at the same time upon ropes 
attached to the opposite end, dragged the block under that part of the floe 
on which the people stood. The officers of both ships took the lead in this 
employ, several of them standing up to their knees in water frequently during 
the day, with the thermometer generally at 12°, and never higher than 16°. At 
six P.M. we began to move the ships. The Griper was made fast astern of the 
Hecla, and the two ships' companies being divided on each bank of the canal, 
with ropes from the Hecla's gangways, soon drew the ships along to the end 
of our second day's work. 

Sun. 26. I should, on every account, have been glad to make this a day of rest to the 
officers and men ; but the rapidity with which the ice increased in thickness, 
in proportion as the general temperature of the atmosphere diminished, would 
have rendered a day's delay of serious importance. I ordered the work, there- 
fore, to be continued at the usual time in the morning ; and such was the 
spirited and cheerful manner in which this order was complied with, as well 
as the skill which had now been acquired in the art of sawing and sinking 
the ice, that, although the thermometer was at 6° in the morning, and rose 
no higher than 9° during the day, we had completed the canal at noon, having 
effected more in four hours than on either of the two preceding days. The 
whole length of this canal was four thousand and eighty-two yards, or nearly 
two miles and one-third, and the average thickness of the ice was seven inches. 
At half-past one P.M. we began to track the ships along in the same manner 
as before, and at a quarter past three we reached our winter-quarters, and 
hailed the event with three loud and hearty cheers from both ships' companies. 
The ships were in five fathoms' water, a cable's length from the beach on the 
north western side of the harbour, to which I gave the name of Winter Hae- 
BouR ; and I called the group of islands which we had discovered in the 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 99 

Polar Sea New Georgia ; but having afterwards recollected that this name is 1819. 
already occupied in another part of the world, I deemed it expedient to change ^^ 
it to that of the North Georgian Islands, in honour of our gracious So- 
vereign, George the Third, whose whole reign had been so eminently dis- 
tinguished by the extension and improvement of geographical and nautical 
knowledge, and for the prosecution of new and important discoveries in both. 



ABSTRACT of the METEOROLOGICAL JOURNAL kept on board His Majesty's Ship Hecla, 




during the Month of September, 


1819. 




Temperature of Air 
in siiade. 


III 


Barometer, 


Prevailing Winds. 


Prevailing Weather. 


Day 


Maxi- 


Mini- 
mam. 


Mean. 


Maxi- 


Mini. 


Mean. 


+ 


+ 


+ 


+ 


inclies. 


inches. 


inches. 






1 


o 
36 


31.5 


33.00 


31.8 


29.99 


29.63 


29.77 5 


N.W. 


Light breezes and hazy, with small snow. 


2 


36 


31 


32.79 


31.4 


30.31 


30.05 


30.212 


S.W.bW. 


Light airs and cloudy. 


3 


37 


31 


34.17 


32.5 


30.42 


30.31 


30.377 


N.W. 


Light airs and fine. 


4 


35 


28 


31.83 


31.9 


30.37 


30.31 


30.340 


N.W.bN. 


Moderate breezes and cloudy. 


5 


32 


28.5 


30.58 


31.8 


30.31 


30.21 


30.245 


N.N.E. 


Fresh breezes and cloudy, with snow. 


6 


30 


25 


27.96 


30.2 


30.18 


30.14 


30.155 


North. 


Fresh breezes and cloudy. 


7 


30 


25 


28.42 


29.8 


30.12 


30.10 


30.110 


N.N.E. 


Moderate breezes and cloudy. 


8 


31 


28 


30.00 


30.0 


30.09 


30.07 


30.085 


C A.M. N.E. I 
I P.M. S.W. 5 


Light breezes and hazy. 


9 


32 


29 


30.67 


30.5 


30.11 


30.04 


30.072 


S.W. 


Light breezes and cloudy. 


10 


32 


30 


31.00 


30.9 


30.10 


30.01 


30.075 


Round the Compass. 


Light airs and hazy, with snow. 


11 


30 


26 


27.75 


30.2 


29.95 


29.86 


29.892 


N.E. 


Light breezes and cloudy, with snow. 


12 


30 


28.5 


29.50 


30.2 


29.80 


29.73 


29.769 


S.W. 


Fresh breezes and hazy, with snow. 


13 


29 


15.5 


26.08 


29.2 


29.62 


29.41 


29.537 


W.S.W. 


Freshbreezes and cloudy, with small snow. 


14 


17 


9 


13.79 


28.3 


29.77 


29.57 


29.710 


WN. 


Strong gales and squally. 


15 


21.5 


16 


18.92 


28.8 


29.80 


29.72 


29.762 


N.W.bW. 


Fresh breezes and clear. 


16 


24 


17 


21.25 


29.5 


29.70 


29.57 


29.644 


W.N.W. 


Strong breezes,— squalls at times 


17 


22 


16.5 


19.75 


29.2 


30.07 


29.72 


29.890 


W.N.W. 


Fresh breezes and squally. 


18 


29 


20 


23.67 


29.0 


30.00 


29.90 


29.950 


N.N.W.toS.W.b.W. 


Light variable breezes and cloudy. 


19 


25 


19 


29.83 


29.0 


29.75 


29.47 


29.617 


S.W. 


Light breezes and cloudy, with spow. 


20 


21 


10.5 


17.25 




29.46 


29.36 


29.412 


N.N.E. 


Strong breezes and hazy. 


21 


19.5 


10 


15.83 




29.60 


29.43 


29.510 


North. 


Strong gales and cloudy. . ,, ; 


22 


23 


17 


19.67 




29.62 


29.54 


29.580 


N.bW. 


Strong breezes and squally. i , J? 


23 


23 


20 


•22.08 




29.S0 


29.66 


29.742 


North. 


Fresh breezes and cloudy, with snow. 


24 


24 


9 


20.25 




30.04 


29.80 


29.935. 


N.N.AV. 


Moderate and cloudy, snow at times. 


25 


17 


7 


13.58 




30.14 


30.04 


30.100 


North. 


Moderate breezes and cloudy. 


26 


8 


-1 


5.00 




30.19 


30.17 


30.175 


N.N.W. 


Moderate breezes and fine. 


27 


21 


+ 5 


15.00 




30.14 


30.04 


30.092 


c A.M. N.N.W. ? 
} P.M.N.N.E. ] 


Moderate breezes and hazy. 


28 


23 


10 


17.33 




29.98 


29.88 


29.925 


N.N.E. 


Fresh breezes and hazy. 


29 


14 


8 


11.25 




29.82 


29.76 


29.787 


North. 


Fresh breezes and cloudy. 


30 


7 


4 


5.92 


29.3 


29.87 


29.70 


29.788 


North. 


Strong breezes, with snow at times. 


^-37 


-1 


+ 22.54 




30.42 


29.36 


29.905 



VOYAGE OF DISCOVEEY: 101 



CHAPTER V. 



PRECAUTIONS FOR SECURING THE SHIPS AND STORES FOR PROMOTING 

GOOD ORDER, CLEANLINESS, HEALTH, AND GOOD-HUMOUR, AMONG THE 

ships' COMPANIES ESTABLISHMENT OF A THEATRE, AND OF THE 

NORTH GEORGIA GAZETTE ERECTION OF AN OBSERVATORY ON SHORE 

COMMENCE OUR WINTEr's AMUSEMENTS — STATE OF THE TEMPERATURE 
AND VARIOUS METEOROLOGICAL PHENOMENA — MISCELLANEOUS OCCUR- 
RENCES TO THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR 1819. 

XTAVING now reached the station, where, in all probability, we were 1819. 
destined to remain for at least eight or nine months, during three of which ^^^^1^" 
we were not to see the face of the sun, my attention was immediately, and 
imperiously, called to various important duties ; many of them of a singular 
nature, such as had, for the first time, devolved on any officer in His Majesty's 
navy, and might indeed be considered of rare occurrence in the whole history 
of navigation. The security of the ships, and the preservation of the various 
stores, were objects of immediate concern. A regular system to be adopted 
for the maintenance of good order and cleanliness, as most conducive to 
the health of the crews during the long, dark, and dreary winter, equally 
demanded my attention. 

Not a moment was lost, therefore, in the commencement of our operations. 
The whole of the masts were dismantled except the lower ones, and the 
Hecla's main-top-mast, the latter being kept fidded for the purpose of occa- 
sionally hoisting up the electrometer-chain, to try the effect of atmospherical 
electricity. The lower yards were lashed fore and aft amidships, at a suffi- 
cient height to support the planks of the housing intended to be erected over 
the ships, the lower ends of which rested on the gunwale ; and the whole 
of this frame-work was afterwards roofed over with a cloth, composed of 



103 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. wadding-tilt, with which waggons are usually covered ; and thus was formed 
>,^,^-^' a comfortable shelter from the snow and wind. The boats, spars, running 
rigging, and sails, were removed on shore, in order to give as much room as 
possible on our upper deck, to enable the people to take exercise on board, 
whenever the weather should be too inclement for walking on shore. It was 
absolutely necessary, also, for the preservation of our sails and ropes all of 
which were hard-frozen, that they should be kept in that state till the return 
of spring; for, as it was now impossible to get them dried, owing to 
the constantly low temperature of the atmosphere, they would, probably, 
have soon rotted had they been kept in any part of the ships, where the 
warmth would occasion them to thaw ; they were, therefore, placed with the 
boats on shore, and a covering of canvass fixed over them. This covering, 
however, as we afterwards found, might better have been dispensed with ; 
for as we had not the means of constructing a roof sufficiently tight to keep 
out the fine snow which fell during the winter, it only served, by the eddy 
wind which it created, to make the drift about it greater; and, I have 
now no doubt that, with stores in the state in which I have described our 
sails to be, it would be better simply to lay them on some spars to keep 
them off the ground, allowing the snow to cover them as it fell. For want of 
experience in these matters, we also took a great deal of unnecessary trouble 
in carrying the anchors over the ice to the beach, with an idea of securing 
the ships to the shore at the breaking up of the ice in the spring ; a precau- 
tion for which there was not the smallest occasion, and by which the cables 
suflfered unnecessary exposure during the winter. 

As soon as the ships were secured and housed over, my undivided attention 
was in the next place directed to the comfort of the officers and men, and to 
the preservation of that extraordinary degree of health which we had hitherto 
enjoyed in both ships. A few brief remarks on this subject by Mr. Edwards, 
(to whose skill and advice, as well as humane and unremitting attention 
to the few sick, on all occasions, I am much indebted,) I need make no 
apology for offering, in his own words : — " On our arrival in our winter quar- 
ters, after a season sufficiently harassing both to officers, and men, it was 
pleasing to reflect on the excellent health they had experienced throughout. 
On our passage across the Atlantic, indeed, a few ephemeral complaints, 
arising from wet and cold, appeared among the men, but these were so 
slight as to be scarcely worthy of notice ; and, since our arrival within the 
Polar circle, a period of between two and three months, not a single medical 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 103 

case had been entered on the sick list. To this favourable account, 18 19- 
one exception, however, must be made in the case of Lieutenant 
Liddon, who had suffered severely from an attack of rheumatism shortly 
after our leaving England, from which he had not yet recovered. 
With regard to accidents, we had been no less fortunate ; a few injuries from 
frost, and one from a burn by gunpowder, which had not yet recovered, 
but which proved only of temporary inconvenience, constituting all the cases 
of this nature which had hitherto occurred. Not the slightest disposition to 
scurvy, the disease most to be apprehended under our present circumstances, 
had yet been evinced in either ship. In fact, the whole of the officers and 
men, with the few exceptions above mentioned, might be said to exhibit 
the finest aspect of health ; and it was no less gratifying to observe, that 
their spirits were in perfect unison with their corporeal powers ; so that it 
was impossible not to consider them as effective as at the commencement of 
the voyage. Under these co-existing circumstances, combined with the 
powerful preventives with which we were furnished, it was not unreasonable 
to indulge in a confident hope of finding ourselves at the beginning of the 
next season with our numbers undiminished, and our energies unim- 
paired." 

In order to prolong this healthy state of the crews, and to promote the 
comfort of all, such arrangements were made for the warmth and dryness 
of the births and bed-places, as circumstances appeared to require ; and 
in this respect some difficulties were to be overcome, which could not, 
perhaps, have been anticipated. Soon after our arrival in Winter Harbour, 
when the temperature of the atmosphere had fallen considerably below 
zero of Fahrenheit, we found that the steam from the coppers, as well as 
the breath and other vapour generated in the inhabited parts of the ship, 
began to condense into drops upon the beams and the sides, to such a 
degree as to keep them constantly wet. In order to remove this serious 
evil, it was necessary to adopt such means for producing a sufficient warmth, 
combined with due ventilation, as might carry off the vapour, and thus 
prevent its settling on any part of the ship. For this purpose a large stone 
oven, cased with cast iron, in which all our bread was baked during the 
winter was placed on the main-hatchway, and the stove-pipe led fore and 
aft on one side of the lower deck, the smoke being thus carried up the 
fore-hatchway. On the opposite side of the deck, an apparatus had been at- 
tached to the galley-range, for conveying a current of heated air between 



104 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. decks. This apparatus simply consisted of an iron box or air-vessel about 
v^^-^' fifteen inches square, through which passed three pipes, of two inches 
diameter, communicating from below with the external air, and uniting 
above in a metal box fixed to the side of the galley-range ; to this box a 
copper stove pipe was attached, and conveyed to the middle part of the lower 
deck. When a fire was made under the air-vessel, the air became heated in 
its passage through the three pipes, from which it was conveyed through 
the stove-pipe to the men's births. While this apparatus was in good orderjc* 
a moderate fire produced a current of air of the temperature of 87°, at the 
distance of seventeen feet from the fire-place ; and, with a pipe of wood, or 
any other imperfect conductor of heat, which would not allow of its escaping 
by the way, it might undoubtedly be carried to a much greater distance. 
By these means we were enabled to get rid of the moisture about the births 
where the people messed ; but when the weather became more severely cold, 
it still accumulated in the bed-places occasionally to a serious and very alarm- 
ing degree. Among the means employed to prevent the injurious effects 
arising from this annoyance, one of the most efficacious perhaps was a 
screen made of fear-nought fixed to the beams round the galley, and dropping 
within eighteen inches of the deck, which served to intercept the steam from 
the coppers, and prevent it as before from curling along the beams, and con- 
densing upon them into drops. This screen was especially useful at the time 
of drawing off" the beer, which we had lately been in the habit of brewing 
from essence of malt and hops, and which continued to be served for several 
weeks as a substitute for part of the usual allowance of spirits. We found 
the steam arising from this process so annoying during the cold weather, 
that, valuable as the beer must be considered as an antiscorbutic beverage, 
it was deemed advisable to discontinue our brewery on that account. While 
on this subject, I may also add that, when the weather became severely 
cold, we could not get the beer to ferment, so as to make it palatable. 

For the preservation of health, and as a necessary measure of economy, 
a few alterations were made in the quantity and quality of the provisions 
issued. I directed the allowance of bread to be permanently reduced to 
two-thirds, a precaution which, perhaps, it would have been as well to have 
adopted from the commencement of the voyage. A pound of Donkin's pre- 
served meat, together with one pint of vegetable or concentrated soup per 
man, was substituted for one pound of salt beef weekly; a proportion of 
beer and wine was served in lieu of spirits ; and a small quantity of sour 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 105 

krout and pickles, with as much vinegar as could be used, was issued at 1819. 
regular intervals. The daily proportion of lime-juice and sugar was mixed \J,°^ 
together, and, with a proper quantity of water, Avas drank by each man in 
presence of an officer appointed to attend to this duty. This latter pre- 
caution may appear to have been unnecessary, to those who are not aware 
how much sailors resemble children in all those points in which their own 
health and comfort are concerned. Whenever any game was procured, it 
was directed to be invariably served in lieu of, and not in addition to, 
the established allowance of other meat, except in a few extraordinary 
cases, when such an indulgence was allowed; and in no one instance, 
either in quantity or quality, was the slightest preference given to the 
officers. 

In the article of fuel, which is of such vital importance in so severe a 
climate, a system of the most rigid economy was adopted ; such a quantity of 
coal only being expended as was barely sufficient for the preservation of 
health on board the ships. A search was made for turf or moss immediately 
after our arrival, and a small quantity of the latter was made use of as 
fuel ; but, without a previous drying, which, from the advanced period of the 
season, we had no means of giving it, it was found to be too wet to produce 
any ^saving of coals. We also looked out most anxiously for a vein of coal 
on shore, but only a few lumps were picked up during our stay in Winter 
Harbour. 

Great attention was paid to the clothing of the men, who were put into a 
certain number of divisions, according to the usual custom of the navy, each 
division being under the command of an officer, who was responsible for the 
personal cleanliness of the men intrusted to his charge, as well as for their 
keeping their clothes at all times mended and in good condition. The men 
were regularly mustered for inspection morning and evening, at which times 
I always visited every part of the between-decks, accompanied by Lieut. 
Beechey and Mr. Edwards ; and one day in the week was appointed for the 
examination of the men's shins and gums by the medical gentlemen, in order 
that any slight appearance of the scurvy might at once be detected, and 
checked by timely and adequate means. 

It was my intention to have caused the bedding of the ships' coh^panies to 
be brought on deck, for the purpose of airing, at least once a week durino- the 
winter ; but here, also, a difficulty occurred, which, without previous ex- 
perience, could not perhaps have been easily anticipated. Whenever a 



106 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. blanket was brought on deck, and suffered to remain there for a short time, 
^° ^^' it of course acquired the temperature of the atmosphere. When this hap- 
pened to be rather low, under zero of Fahrenheit for instance, the im- 
mediate consequence, on taking the blanket again into the inhabited 
parts of the ship was, that the vapour settled and condensed upon it, 
rendering it almost instantly so wet, as to be unfit to sleep on, and requiring, 
therefore, after all, that it should be dried by artificial heat before it could 
be returned into the bed-place. W^e were, therefore, under the necessity 
of hanging the bedding upon lines between decks, as the only mode of 
airing it; and what was likely to prove still more prejudicial, we were 
obliged to have recourse to the same unhealthy measure in drying the washed 
clothes. 

Under circumstances of leisure and inactivity, such as we were now placed 
in, and with every prospect of its continuance for a very large portion of a 
year, I was desirous of finding some amusement for the men during this 
long and tedious interval. I proposed, therefore, to the officers to get up a 
Play occasionally on board the Hecla, as the readiest means of preserving 
among our crews that cheerfulness and good-humour which had hitherto 
subsisted. In this proposal I was readily seconded by the officers of 
both ships ; and Lieutenant Beechey having been duly elected as stage- 
manager, our first performance was fixed for the 5th of November, to the 
great delight of the ship's companies. In these amusements I gladly under- 
took a part myself, considering that an example of cheerfulness, by giving a 
direct countenance to every thing that could contribute to it, was not the least 
essential part of my duty, under the peculiar circumstances in which we were 
placed. 

In order still further to promote good-humour among ourselves, as well as 
to furnish aniusing occupation, during the hours of constant darkness, we set 
on foot a weekly newspaper, which was to be called the North Georgia 
Gazette and Winter Chronicle, and of which Captain Sabine undertook to be the 
editor, under the promise that it was to be supported by original contributions 
from the officers of the two ships : aad, though some objection may, perhaps, 
be raised against a paper of this kind being generally resorted to in ships of 
war, I was too well acquainted with the discretion, as well as the excellent 
dispositions of my officers, to apprehend any unpleasant consequences from a 
measure of this kind ; instead of which I can safely say, that the weekly con- 
tributions had the happy effect of employing the leisure hours of those who 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 107 

furnished them, and of diverting the mind from the gloomy prospect which 1819. 
would sometimes obtrude itself on the stoutest heart. October. 

Immediately on our arrival in harbour, Captain Sabine had employed 
himself in selecting a place for the observatory, which was erected in a con- 
venient spot, about seven hundred yards to the westward of the ships. It 
was also considered advisable immediately to set about building a house 
near the beach, for the reception of the clocks and instruments. For this 
purpose we made use of a quantity of fir-plank, which was intended for the 
construction of spare boats, and which was so cut as not to injure it for that 
purpose. The ground was so hard frozen that it required great labour to 
dig holes for the upright posts which formed the support of the sides. The 
walls of this house being double, with moss placed between the two, a high 
temperature could, even in the severest weather which we might be doomed 
to experience, be kept up in it without difficulty by a single stove. 

Among the many fortunate circumstances which had attended us during 
this first season of our navigation, there was none more striking than the 
opportune time at which the ships were securely placed in harbour ; for on 
the very night of our arrival, the 26th of September, the thermometer fell 
to — 1° ; and, on the following day, the sea was observed from the hills 
to be quite frozen over, as far as the eye could reach ; nor was any open 
water seen after this period. During the first three weeks in October, how- 
ever, we remarked that the young ice, near the mouth of the harbour, was 
occasionally squeezed up very much by the larger floes, so that the latter 
must still have had some space left, in which to acquire motion : but after 
that time the sea was entirely covered with one uniform surface of solid and 
motionless ice. 

After our arrival in port, we saw several rein-deer, and a few coveys of 
grouse ; but the country is so destitute of every thing like cover of any kind, 
that our sportsmen were not successful in their hunting excursions, and we 
procured only three rein-deer, previously to the migration of these and the 
other animals from the island, which took place before the close of the month 
of October, leaving only the wolves and foxes to bear us company during 
the winter. The full-grown deer, which we killed in the autumn, gave us 
from one hundred and twenty to one hundred and seventy pounds of meat 
each, and a fawn weighed eighty-four pounds. 

On the 1st of October, Captain Sabine's servant having been at some dis- 
tance from the ships, to examine a fox-trap, was pursued by a large white 




108 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

bear, which followed his footsteps the whole way to the ships, where he was 
wounded by several balls, but made his escape after all. This bear, which 
was the only one we saw during our stay in Winter Harbour, was observed 
to be more purely white than any we had before seen, the colour of these 
animals being generally that of a dirtyish yellow, when contrasted with the 
whiteness of the ice and snow. 

On the night of the 4th, we had a strong gale from the southward, which 
gave us a satisfactory proof of the security of the harbour we had chosen, 
for the main ice was found in the morning to have pressed in very forcibly 
upon that which Avas newly formed near the entrance, while within the 
two points of the harbour, it remained perfectly solid and undisturbed. 
Some deer being seen near the ships on the 10th, a party was despatched 
after them, some of whom having wounded a stag, and being led on by the 
ardour of pursuit, forgot my order that every person should be on-board 
before sun-set, and did not return till late, after we had suffered much ap- 
prehension on their account. I, therefore, directed that the expense of all 
rockets and other signals made in such cases, should, in future, be charged 
against the wages of the offending party. John Pearson, a marine belonging to 
the Griper, who was the last that returned on board, had his hands severely 
frost-bitten, having imprudently gone away without mittens, and with a 
musket in his hand. A party of our people most providentially found him, 
although the night was very dark, just as he had fallen down a steep bank 
of snow, and was beginning to feel that degree of torpor and drowsi- 
ness which, if indulged, inevitably proves fatal. W^hen he was brought on 
board, his fingers were quite stiff, and bent into the shape of that part of the 
musket which he had been carrying : and the frost had so far destroyed the 
animation in his fingers on one hand, that it was necessary to amputate three 
of them a short time after, notwithstanding all the care and attention paid to 
him by the medical gentlemen. The effect which exposure to severe frost 
has, in benumbing the mental as well as the corporeal faculties, was very 
striking in this man, as well as in two of the young gentlemen who returned 
after dark, and of whom we were anxious to make inquiries respecting 
Pearson. When I sent for them into my cabin, they looked wild, spoke 
thick and indistinctly, and it was impossible to draw from them a rational 
answer to any of our questions. After being on board for a short time, the 
mental faculties appeared gradually to return with the returning circulation, 
and it was not till then that a looker-on could easily persuade himself that 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 109 

they had not been drinking too freely. To those who have been much ac- 1819. 
customed to cold countries this will be no new remark ; but I cannot help k.^-t^' 
thinking (and it is with this view that I speak of it) that many a man may have 
been punished for intoxication, who was only suffering from the benumbing 
effects of frost ; for I have more than once seen our people in a state so 
exactly resembling that of the most stupid intoxication, that I should cer- 
tainly have charged them with that offence, had I not been quite sure that 
no possible means were afforded them on Melville Island, to procure 
any thing stronger than snow-water. In order to guard in some measure 
against the danger of persons losing their way, which was more and more to 
be apprehended as the days became shorter, and the ground more covered 
with snow, which gives such a dreary sameness to the country, we erected 
on all the hills within two or three miles of the harbour, finger-posts pointing 
towards the ships. 

I have before remarked that all the water which we made use of while within 
the polar circle, was procured from snow, either naturally or artificially dis- 
solved. Soon after the ships were laid up for the winter, it was necessary to 
have recourse entirely to the latter process, which added materially to the 
expenditure of fuel during the winter months. The snow for this purpose 
was dug out of the drifts, which had formed upon the ice round the ships, 
and dissolved in the coppers. We found it necessary always to strain the 
water thus procured, on account of the sand which the heavy snow-drifts 
brought from the island, after which it was quite pure and wholesome. 

On the evening of the 13th, the Aurora Borealis was seen very faintly, Wed. 13. 
consisting of a stationary white light in the south-west quarter, and near the 
horizon. 

On the 15th, we saw the last covey of ptarmigan which were met with Frid. 15. 
this season. On the same day our people fell in with a herd of fifteen deer 
to the southward ; they were all lying down at first, except one large one, 
probably a stag, which afterwards seemed to guard the rest in their flight, 
going frequently round them, and sometimes striking them with his horns 
to make them go on, which otherwise they did not seem much inclined to do. 

On the 16th, it blew a strong gale from the northward, accompanied by Sat. 16, 
such a constant snow-drift, that although the weather was quite clear over- 
head, the boat-house, at the distance of three or four hundred yards, could 
scarcely be seen from the ships. On such occasions, no person was per- 
mitted on any account to leave the ships. Indeed, when this snow-drift 



110 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

occurred, as it frequently did during the winter, with a hard gale, and the 
thermometer very low, I believe that no human being could have remained 
alive after an hour's exposure to it. In order, therefore, to secure a com- 
munication between the ships, a distance not exceeding half a cable's length, 
as well as from the ships to the house on shore, a line Avas kept extended, 
as a guide from one to the other. About the middle of October the snow 
began to fall in smaller flakes than during the summer; and soon after 
this, whenever it fell, it consisted entirely of very minute spicules, assuming 
various forms of crystallization. The meridian altitude of the sun was 
observed this day by an artificial horizon, which I notice from the circum- 
stance of its being the last time we had an opportunity of observing it for 
about four months. 

17 & 18. On the 17th and 18th, our hunting parties reported that the deer were 
more numerous than they had been before, which made us conclude, that they 
were assembling their forces for an immediate departure over the ice to the 
continent of America, as we only saw one or two on the island after this 
time. They had been met with, since taking up our quarters, in herds of 
from eight to twenty, and from forty to fifty were seen in the course of 
one day. A thermometer placed in the sun at noon, on the 18th, rose only 

Tues. 19. to — 9°, the temperature in the shade being — 16°. 

It had for some time past been a matter of serious consideration with me^ 
whether it would be necessary to cut the ice round the ships, which had 
by this time become so firmly attached to the bends, that they were 
completely imbedded in it. There happened to be only two or three persons 
in the expedition, who had ever been frozen up during a whole winter 
in any of the cold countries, and I consulted these as to the expediency of 
doing so. This precaution, it would seem, is considered to be necessary, 
from the possibility of a ship being hung by the ice attached to her bends, 
and thus prevented from rising and falling with the tide ; in consequence 
of which, a plank might easily be torn out near the water-line, by the 
weight of the ship hanging entirely on that particular part. I was re- 
lieved from any apprehension on this score, however, by knowing how small 
the rise and fall of the tides were in this place ; and also by having observed 
that a spring-tide caused the whole mass of ice in the harbour to detach 
itself from the beach, along the whole line of which it split, and was 
' lifted ; so that both ships and ice arose and fell in a body with the tide. The 
only question, therefore, that remained, was, whether the lateral expansion 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. Ill 

of the ice might not create such a pressure upon the water-line of the 1819. 
ships as to do them some damage. This apprehension was rather increased v.^^^' 
by Lieutenant Liddon's having reported to me, that his officers had, a 
night or two before, heard a loud crack about the Griper's bends, which 
gave them the idea of something straining or giving way. This noise, 
however, wliich occurred very frequently afterwards, as the cold became 
more intense, proved to be nothing more than that which is not unusually 
heard in houses in cold countries, being occasioned by the freezing and 
expansion of the juices contained in wood not thoroughly seasoned. To 
put the matter out of all doubt, however, I deemed it prudent to order the 
ice to be cut round both ships, an operation which occupied the" two crews 
almost the whole of two days, the ice being now twenty-three inches in 
thickness ; and I determined to continue this operation daily, as long as the 
weather would permit. 

The 20th of October was one of the finest days which, as experience has Wed. 20. 
since taught us, ever occur in this climate, the weather being clear, with little 
or no wind; and, though the thermometer remained steadily between — 15° 
and — 16° during the day, it was rather pleasant to our feelings than otherwise. 
Our sportsmen were out from both ships the whole day, and returned, for 
the first time, without having seen any living animal, though they had 
walked over a very considerable extent of ground ; so that the hope we had 
indulged of obtaining, occasionally, a fresh meal, was now nearly at an end 
for the rest of the winter. It was observed from the hills, that the ice in 
the offing had been thrown into higher hummocks than before ; and in the 
morning we saw a number of little vertical streams of vapour rising from 
the sea, near the mouth of the harbour, which was probably that pheno- 
menon vulgarly called the " barber," in North America, and which is oc- 
casioned, I believe, by the vapour arising from the water being condensed 
into a visible form by the coldness of the atmosphere. It is probable, 
therefore, from the two circumstances now mentioned, that a motion had 
taken place among the floes in the offing, producing first the pressure by 
which the hummocks were thrown up, and then a partial separation, leaving 
for a time a small space of unfrozen surface. 

Between six and eight P.M., we observed the Aurora Borealis, forming a 
broad arch of irregular white light, extending from N.N.W. to S.S.E., the 
centre of the arch being 10° to the eastward of the zenith. It was most 
bright near the southern horizon ; and frequent, but not vivid, coruscations 



112 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

were seen shooting from its upper side, towards the zenith. The magnetic 
needle was not sensibly affected by this phenomenon. 

Thur. 21. Between two and three P.M. on the 21st, the weather being still remark- 
ably clear and fine, and the sun near the horizon, a parhelion strongly pris- 
matic was seen on each side of it, at the distance of 23°, resembling the legs 
of a rainbow resting upon the land. 

Tues. 26. On the 26th, the sun afforded us sufficient light for writing and reading in 
my cabin, the stern-windows exactly facing the south, from half-past nine 
till half-past two ; for the rest of the four-and-twenty hours Ave lived, of 
course, by candle-light. Nothing could exceed the beauty of the sky to the 
south-east and south-west at sun-rise and sun-set about this period : near the 
horizon there was generally a rich bluish purple, and a bright arch of deep 
red above, the one mingling imperceptibly Avith the other. The weather 
about this time was remarkably mild, the mercury in the thermometer having 
stood at or above zero for more than forty-eight hours. By a register of the 
temperature of the atmosphere, which was kept by Captain Sabine at the ob- 
servatory, it Avas found that the thermometer, invariably, stood at least from 
2° to 5°, and even on one or two occasions as much as 7° higher on the outside 
of the ships, than it did on shore, owing probably to a warm atmosphere, 
created round the former by the constant fires kept up on board. 

Frid. 29. On the 29th the Aveatherwas calm and clear, and Ave remarked, for the first 
time, that the smoke from the funnels scarcely rose at all, but skimmed nearly 
horizontally along the housing, the thermometer having got down to — 24°*, 
and the mercury in the barometer standing at 29.70 inches. It now became 
rather a painful experiment to touch any metallic substance in the open air 
with the naked hand ; the feeling produced by it exactly resembling that oc- 
casioned by the opposite extreme of intense heat, and taking off the skin 
from the part affected. W^e found it necessary, therefore, to use great caution 
in handling our sextants and other instruments, particularly the eye-pieces of 
the telescopes, which, if suffered to touch the face, occasioned an intense 
burning pain ; but this was easily remedied by covering them over with soft 
leather. Another effect, with regard to the use of instruments, began to ap- 
pear about this time. Whenever any instrument, which had been some time 

* By a Meteorological Journal in my possession, kept at York Fort, Hudson's Bay, in 
the year 1795, it appears that this phenomenon did not occur till the thermometer indi- 
cated a temperature of ab o ut 36°. The height of the barometer is not mentioned. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 113 



exposed to the atmosphere, so as to be cooled down to the same temperature, 1819. 
was suddenly brought below into the cabins, the vapour was instantly con- ^^!iS!/'" 
densed all around it, so as to give the instrument the appearance of smoking, 
and the glasses were covered almost instantaneously with a thin coating of ice, 
the removal of which required great caution to prevent the risli of injuring them 
until it had gradually thawed, as they acquired the temperature of the cabin. 
When a candle was placed in a certain direction from the instrument, with 
respect to the observer, a number of very minute spicules of snow were also 
seen sparkling around the instrument, at the distance of two or three inches 
from it, occasioned, as we supposed, by the cold atmosphere produced by the 
low temperature of the instrument almost instantaneously congealing into that 
form the vapour which floated in its immediate neighbourhood. 

The month of November commenced with mild weather, which continued Novemb. 
for the first ten days. It is generally supposed, by those who have not expe- 
rienced the effects produced upon the feelings by the various alterations in the 
temperature of the atmosphere, when the thermometer is low, that a change 
of 10° or 15° makes no sensible difference in the sensation of cold ; but this is 
by no means the case, for it was a remark continually made among us, that 
our bodies appeared to adapt themselves so readily to the climate, that the 
scale of our feelings, if I may so express it, was soon reduced to a lower stan- 
dard Aan ordmary ; so that, after living for some days in a temperature of 
-15° or -20°, it felt quite mild and comfortable when the thermometer rose 
to zero, and vice versa. 

The 4th of November being the last day that the sun would, independently Thurs. 4. 
of the effects of refraction, be seen above our horizon till the eighth of Fe- 
bruary, an interval of ninety-six days, it was a matter of considerable regret 
to us that the weather about this time was not sufficiently clear to allow us to 
see and make observations on the disappearance of that lunnnary, in order 
that something might be attempted towards determining the amount of 
the atmospherical refraction at a low temperature. But though we were not 
permitted to take a last farewell, for at least three months, of that cheering 
orb, " of this great world, both eye and soul," we nevertheless felt that this 
day constituted an important and memorable epoch in our voyage. We had, 
some time before, set about the preparations for our winters amusements ;' 
and the theatre being ready, we opened on the 5th of November, with the Frid. 5. 
representation of Miss in her Teens, which afforded to the men such a fund of 
amusement as fully to justify the expectations we had formed of the utility of 

Q 



ABSTRACT of the METEOROLOGICAL JOURNAL kept on 


joard His Majesty's Ship Hecla, 






at Sea, during the Month of October, 


1819. 




Day 


Temperature of Air 
in shade. 




Barometer. 


Prerailing Winds. 


Prevailing Weather. 




Maxi- 


Mini- 


Mean. 


Maxi- 


Mini- 


Mean. 




1 


+ 9 


+ °6 


o 
+ 6,83 


+ 

29?12 


inclies. 
29.89 


inclies. ' inches. 
29.82 29.860 


N.N.W. to S. 


Light airs and fine. 




2 


17.5 


9.5 


12.83 


28.87 


29.76 


29.73 , 29.740 


S.S.E. 


Light breezes and fine. 




3 


10 


6 


8.75 


29.12 


29.77 


29.68 


29.750 


s.w. 


Light breezes with small snow. 




4 


16 


5 


9.83 


28.62 


29.59 


29.17 


29.390 


S. Westerly 


Fresh breezes and hazy with snow. 




5 


13 


- 7 


3.00 


28.00 


29.71 


29.10 


29,440 


N.W.bN. 


Strong breezes and cloudy. 




6 


8 


- 8 


— 1.80 


28.00 


29.81 


29.50 


29.730 


Westerly. 


Strong breezes and hazy with show. 




7 


15 





+ 6.10 


28.00 


29.26 


29.20 


29.225 


S.W. 


Strong breezes and hazy. 




8 


1 


- 8.5 


+ 3.75 


28.40 


30.00 


29.46 


29.805 


N.N.W. 


Fresh breezes and cloudy. 




9 





— 5 


— 1.83 


28.00 


30.00 


29.93 


29.952 


West 


Moderate and cloudy. 




10 


5 


- 3 


+ 1.83 


28.00 


29.83 


29.68 


29.752 


S.S.W. 


Moderate and fine. 




11 


10 


+ 2 


+ 4.54 


28.00 


29.69 


29.60 


29.630 


West. 


Moderate and hazy. 




12 


+ 7 


— 8 


— 4.17 


28.00 


29.63 


29.44 


29.535 


N.N.W. 


Fresh breezes and fine. 




13 


+ 10 


+ 3 


+ 7.60 


28.00 


29.57 


29.43 


29.490 


5 HalfE.S.E. ) 
t Half West. J 


Fresh breezes and hazy. 




14 


+ 5 


— 6 


— 2.50 


28.00 


30.00 


29.44 


29.710 


W.N.W. 


Moderate and cloudy. 




15 


+ 13 





+ 6.17 


28.00 


29.62 


29.30 


29.425 


f Half East. 7 
1 Half North, j 


Strong breezes and cloudy, with snow. 




16 


— 1 


—12.5 


— 5.20 


27.50 


29.91 


29.49 


29.742 


N.b.W. 


Fresh breezes and hazy. 




17 


—10.5 


—16 


— 12.88 


28.00 


30.20 


29.93 


30.095 


North 


Moderate and fine clear weather. 




18 


— 2 


—14 


— 6.08 


28.00 


30.22 


30.18 


30.190 


N.N.W. 


Light breezes and fine. 




19 


— 7 


—14 


— 11.25 


27.62 


30.20 


29.98 


30.120 


West 


Moderate and cloudy. 




20 


-13.5 


—17.5 


— 15.12 


27.62 


30.00 


29.93 


29.955 


N.N.W. 


Light breezes and fine. 




21 


— 7 


—14 


— 10.58 


28.00 


30.21 


30,00 


30.100 


Ditto. 


Ditto ditto. 




22 


— S 


—14 


— 6.92 


28.00 


30.32 


30.27 


30.300 


North 


Light breezes and cloudy. 




23 


+ 6 


— 9 


+ 0.12 


28.00 


30.13 


30.03 


30.070 


North 


Fresh breezes and hazy, with drift snow. 




24 


+ 1 


- 6 


— 2.83 


28.25 


30.06 


30.01 


30.045 


North 


Fresh breezes and hazy. 




25 


+ 5 


+ 2 


+ 3.71 


28.00 


30.16 


30.05 


30.112 


N.bW. 


Moderate and cloudy. 




26 


+ 


— 8 


— 1.08 


28.40 


30.11 


30.06 


30.090 


Ditto 


Light breezes and cloudy. 




27 


— 4 


—15 


- 10.25 


28.12 


30.02 


29.87 


29.955 


North 


Light breezes and fine clear weather. 




28 


—17 


—23 


— 19.75 


23.00 


29.79 


29.72 


29.771 


N.N.W. 


Moderate and fine. 




20 


—20 


—28 


— 24.25 


28.00 


29.73 


29.69 


29.710 


N.bW. 


Light breezes and fine. 




30 


—25 


-27.5 


— 26.15 


] 28.00 


29.73 


29.70 


29.717 


Ditto 


Ditto ditto. 




31 


— 4 


—28 


- 12.17 


28.00 


29.91 


29.70 


29.847 


N.N.W. 


Light airs and cloudy. 






+ 17.5 


—28 


— 3.46 


28.114 


30.32 


29.10 


29.81 





VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. 115 

theatrical entertainments under our present circumstances, and to determine 1819. 
me to follow them up at stated periods. I found indeed, that even the occu- yj^y^^ ' 
pation of fitting up the theatre, and taking it to pieces again, which employed 
a number of the men for a day or two before and after each performance, was 
a matter of no little importance, when the immediate duties of the ship ap- 
peared by no means sufficient for that purpose ; for I dreaded the want of 
employment as one of the worst evils that was likely to befal us. 

On the 6th we tried the temperature of the sea at the bottom, the depth Sat. 6. 
being five fathoms, and found it to be 30°, whilst that of the surface was 28°, 
and of the air— 16°. On tlie 9th, the temperature of the bottom was as high Tues. 9. 
as 31°, the surface being still at 28°. The specific gravity of the surface water 
was 1.0264, at the temperature of 52°, and that of the water brought from 
the bottom 1.0265, at 50°. On the same evening, the weather being fine and 
clear, the Aurora Borealis was seen for nearly two hours, forming a long, low, 
irregular arch of light, extending from north to south in the western quarter 
of the heavens, its altitude in the centre being 3° or 4°. The electrometer- 
chain was hoisted up to the mast-head, and its lower end brought down to 
the ice, so as to keep it perfectly clear of all the masts and rigging, which 
method was used throughout the winter; but no sensible effect was produced 
on the gold-leaf. It was tried a second time, after the sky became full of 
white fleecy clouds, but with as little success. 

On the forenoon of the 11th, the thermometer having again fallen to — 26|°, Thur.ll. 
the smoke, as it escaped from the funnels, scarcely rose at all above the 
housing, Mr. Ross, having gone to the mast-head at noon, reported that he 
saw the sun. There was no time for measuring the altitude, but Lieutenant 
Beechey, who went up to observe it, considered that about twenty-four mi- 
nutes of its disk appeared above the horizon, according to which the amount of 
refraction would appear to be 2° 09' 05". The temperature of the atmosphere at 
this time was — 27°, and the mercury in the barometer stood at 30.07 inches. 
The thermometer having fallen to — 31° on the following day, we expected to Frid. U. 
have seen the sun again, and looked out from the mast-head for that purpose, but 
it did not re-appear. At six P.M. the Aurora Borealis was seen in a broken 
irregular arch, about 6° high in the centre, extending from N.W. b. N. to 
S. b. W., from whence a few coruscations Avere now and then faintly emitted 
towards the zenith. From eight P.M. till midnight on the 13th, it was again Sat. 13. 
seen in a similar manner from S.W. to S.E., the brightest part being in the 
centre, or due south. On the 15th, Lieutenant Beechey informed me that 



ii^ VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. he had seen, in the N.N.W. and S.E. quarters, some light transparent clouds, 

v.,,-v^^ ■ from which columns of light were thrown upwards, resembling the Aurora 

Borealis ; those to the S.E., being opposed to a very light sky, had a light-brown 

Tues. 16. appearance. This phenomenon was again observed on the 16th, consisting of 
a bright stationary light from S.S.W. to S. b. E., and reaching from the horizon 
to the height of about 6° above it. 

About the time of the sun's leaving us, the wolves began to approach the 
ships more boldly, howling most piteously on the beach near us, sometimes 
for hours together, and, on one or two occasions, coming alongside the ships, 
when every thing was quiet at night ; but we seldom saw more than one 
or two together, and, therefore, could form no idea of their number. 
These animals were always very shy of coming near our people, and, though 
evidently suffering much from hunger, never attempted to attack any of them. 
The white foxes used also to visit the ships at night, and one of these {Cards 
Lagopus) was caught in a trap, set under the Griper's bows. The uneasiness 
displayed by this beautiful little animal during the time of his confinement, 
whenever he heard the howling of a wolf near the ships, impressed us with an 
opinion, that the latter is in the habit of hunting the fox as his prey. 

Wed. 17. The rapidity with which the ice formed round the ships had now become so 
great, as to employ our people for several hours each day in cutting it ; and 
for the last three days our utmost labour, during the time of twilight, could 
scarcely keep it clear. As it was evident, therefore, that, as the frost in- 
creased, we could not possibly effect this, and as the men almost always got 
their feet wet in sawing the ice, from which the most injurious effects upon 
their health were likely to result, I gave orders to leave off cutting it any 
more during the severity of the winter. The average formation of ice round 
the ships, during the time we continued to remove it, was usually from three to 
five inches in twenty-four hours ; and once it froze eight inches in twenty-six 
hours, the mean temperature of the atmosphere being— 12°. At noon to-day 
we saw, for the first time at this hour, a star of the first magnitude (Capella), and 
at half an hour past noon, those of the second magnitude in Ursa Major were 
visible ; which circumstance will, perhaps, give the best idea of the weakness of 
the sun's light at this period. At three P.M. a remarkable variety of the Aurora 
Borealis was seen by several of the officers. Having about this time been 
confined for a few days to my cabin by indisposition, I am indebted to Lieu- 
tenant Beechey for the following description of it : — " Clouds of a light- 
brown colour were seen, diverging from a point near . the horizon bearing 



J 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 117 

S.W. b. S., and shooting pencils of rays upwards at an angle of about 45° 1819. 
with the horizon. These rays, however, were not stationary as to their posi- "^^"^ 



tion, but were occasionally extended and contracted. From behind these, as 
it appeared to us, flashes of white light were repeatedly seen, which some- 
times streamed across to the opposite horizon, some passing through the 
zenith, others at a considerable distance on each side of it. This phenomenon 
continued to display itself brilliantly for half an hour, and then became gra- 
dually fainter till it disappeared, about four o'clock. The sun, at the time of 
the first appearance of this meteor, was on nearly the same bearing, and about 
5° below the horizon." 

The temperature of the atmosphere having, about this time, become con- Thur. 18. 
siderably lower than before, the cracking of the timbers was very frequent 
and loud for a time ; but generally ceased altogether in an hour or two after 
this fall had taken place in the thermometer, and did not occur again at the 
same temperature during the winter. The wind blowing fresh from the 
northward, with a heavy snow-drift, made the ship very cold below ; so that 
the breath and other vapour accumulated during the night in the bed-places 
and upon the beams, and then immediately froze ; hence it often occupied all 
hands for two or three hours during the day to scrape the ice away, in order 
to prevent the bedding from becoming wet by the increase of temperature 
occasioned by the fires. It was therefore found necessary to keep some of 
the fires in between decks at night, when the thermometer was below — 15° 
or —20° in the open air, especially when the wind was high. To assist in 
keeping the lower decks warm, as well as to retard, in some slight degree, 
the formation of ice immediately in contact with the ships' bends, we banked 
the snow up against their sides, as high as the main-chains ; and canvass 
screens were nailed round all the hatchways on the lower deck. 

The stars of the second magnitude in Ursa Major were just perceptible to 
the naked eye a little after noon this day, and the Aurora Borealis appeared 
faintly in the south-west at night. About this time our medical gentlemen 
began to remark the extreme difficulty with which sores of every kind healed ; 
a circumstance that rendered it the more necessary to be cautious in exposing 
the men to frost-bites, lest the long inactivity and want of exercise during the 
cure of sores in other respects trifling, should produce serious effects upon the 
general health of the patients. 

From midnight on the 20th, till two o'clock on the following morning, the Sun. 2i. 
thermometer rose from —46° to -401°, and at half-past three a gale came 



lis VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. on from the northward, which continued to blow, and the thermometer gra- 
v^i^^^' dually to rise, till the latter had reached —21° at midnight. This was one of 
a great many instances which occurred during the winter, of an increase of 
wind, from whatever quarter, being accompanied by a simultaneous rise in the 
thermometer. The gale continued strong for the greater part of the two 
following days, with a tremendous snow-drift, which kept us all on board till 
the afternoon of the 23d. In the mean time another play had been prepared, 
and our second performance, to which the crews had been anxiously looking 
forward, took place on the evening of the 24th. 

The temperature of the ship's holds, at this time, was generally from 
27° to 34°, the aftermost being always the warmest, and a considerable 
quantity of the beer was found frozen in the casks. The thermometer seldom 

Sun. 26 rose higher than 40° on the lower deck, throughout the day. On the 26th in 
the morning, some vivid coruscations of the Aurora Borealis were observed 
from S. to N.W., commencing at 4° or 5° of altitude, and streaming towards 
the zenith. 

Early in the afternoon of the 20th, Captain Sabine observed a small meteor 
fall to the ground in the W. by N., not apparently more than a mile distant. 
It fell slowly, with a faint white light, which increased considerably as it 
approached the earth. When first seen, its height was about 8° or 10°, and 
the descent appeared perpendicular, or nearly so. The atmosphere at this 
time was remarkably clear. Soon after the moon rose this afternoon, it was 
curiously deformed by refraction, the lower edges of its disk appearing in- 
dented with deep notches, and at other times seeming to be cut off square at 
the bottom. A single ray, or rather a column of light, of the same diameter 
as the moon, was also observed to descend from it to the top of the hill, 

29 & 30. like a pillar supporting it. On this and the two following nights, we were 
occupied from five to seven hours in taking lunar distances in the open air, 
the thermometer being from —34° to —36°. This we did without any ma- 
terial inconvenience, as long as the weather continued calm or nearly so ; but 
with a moderate breeze it soon became too painful to handle the screws of 
the sextant. The difficulty of making observations in this climate is not, 
however, confined to the sensation of cold produced by handling the instru- 
ments, or by standing still for several hours together at so Ioav a temperature ; 
but it is also necessary to hold the breath very carefully during the time of 
making the observation ; for if the least vapour be suffered to touch the in- 
strument, it is immediately converted into a coat of ice, which dims 



I 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 119 

the glasses, and renders the instrument unserviceable till the ice has 18lf). 
been thawed, and the instrument thoroughly cleaned. Our sextants were -.^^J^' 
somewhat injured, in the cold weather, by the cracking of the silver on the 
horizon and index glasses, arising as we supposed, from the unequal con- 
traction of the two substances. The mercury of the artificial horizons froze 
into a solid mass as we were observing the moon's altitude in it, although 
the themiometer on shore indicated only — 36°. This was probably owing to 
the mercury having become adulterated by admixture with the lead of the 
troughs, which disposed it to congeal at a higher temperature than the 
freezing point of pure mercury. 

At half-past six P.M., on the 1st of December, part of a circular halo, Decemb. 
whose radius was 22° 52', was observed round the moon, which was near the 
full. Part of a well-defined horizontal circle of white light, passing through 
the moon, extended also for several degrees on each side of her, and in the 
points where this circle intersected the halo, were two prismatic spots of 
light, or paraselenae. In that part of the halo which was immediately over 
the moon, was another spot much brighter ; and opposite to it, in the lower 
part of the circle, another similar but much more faint. About the same 
time, on the following evening, two concentric circles were observed round Tlmr. 2. 
the moon, the radius of the smaller being 38°, and of the larger 46°. Upon 
the inner circle were four paraselenae, strongly prismatic, situated with re- 
spect to the moon as on the preceding day ; and there was also a faint ho- 
rizontal circle of white light, passing through the moon as before. The weather 
was fine in both these instances, but there was still a sort of haziness in the 
atmosphere which prevented the heavenly bodies being very distinctly seen. 

On the 10th, at two P.M., Captain Sabine observed a small meteor fall in Frid. 10. 
the direction of N.N.W. from the ships, similar in character and appearance 
to that seen on the 28th of November, except that the light was not so vivid, 
and it was extinguished, instead of burning more fiercely, before it reached 
the earth. About this time we were a good deal annoyed for some days 
together by the thermometer continuing higher than usual, the wind being 
from the E.S.E., which caused a considerable degree of dampness between 
decks, in consequence of the ice thawing in every crevice where it could not 
readily be removed in any other way. This annoyance could only be got rid 
of by constant wiping, and by increasing the fires for the time : but, when 
the thermometer fell to 15° or 20° below zero, it again became solid, and 
ceased to be an inconvenience. 



ABSTRACT of the METEOROLOGICAL JOURNAL kept on board His Majesty's Ship Hecla 






during the Mo 


1th o{ November, I8I9. 


Day 


Temperature of Air 
in shade. 




Barometer. 


Prevailing Winds. 


Prevailing Weather. 


Maxi- 


Mini- 
mnm. 


Mean. 


Maxi- 


Mini. 


Mean. 


1 


+ 2° 


-3° 


- 1?00 


+ 
o 

28 


iocbes. 
29.89 


inches. 
29.81 


inches. 
29.870 


f North 1 
1 N.N.W. ) 


Light breezes and hazy. 
Moderate and hazy. 


2 


+ 5 





+ 3.25 


29.5 


29.90 


29.81 


29.865 


N.N.W. 


Light breezes and hazy. 


3 


+ 6 





+ 3.92 




30.02 


29.93 


29.975 


N.b.W. 


Ditto ditto. 


4 


+ 6 


+ 


+ 5.50 




30.17 


30.07 


30.120 


( N.E. round by t 
\ West to S.S.E. i 


Ditto ditto. 


5 


+ 6 


-7 


- 0.67 


29 


30.30 


30.21 


30.272 


North 


Ditto. Ditto 


6 


-8 


-18 


-14.08 


28 


30.32 


30.27 


30.298 


North 


Moderate and fine. 


7 


-6.5 


-16 


-11.12 


30 


30.08 


30.00 


30.030 


North 


Moderate and hazy. 


8 


-5 


-13 


- 10.04 




29.93 


29.93 


29.930 


North 


Moderate and fine. 


9 


-11 


-15 


- 12.75 • 


2S.5 


29.98 


29.87 


29.920 


N.b.W. 


Strong breezes and hazy, witli drift snow. 


10 


-6.5 


-15 


- 9.67 


30 


30.07 


30.00 


30.047 


N.b.W. 


Moderate and hazy, with snow. 


11 


-13 


-26.5 


-18.62 




30.07 


30.025 


30.039 


N.N.W. 


Moderate breezes and fine. 


12 


-24 


-32 


-28.58 




30.13 


30.025 


30.074 


North 


Light breezes and fine clear weather. 


13 


-24 


-34 


-28.50 


29.5 


29.95 


29.86 


29.920 


N.W. 


Moderate and hazy. 


14 


-25 


-32 


-26.08 


29.5 


29.81 


29.79 


29.802 


S.S.E. 


Light breezes and hazy. 


15 


-21 


-40 


-30.88 


30 


29.95 


29.73 


29.790 


f Calm J 

\ West ; 


Fine weather. 

Bloderate and fine clear weather. 


16 


-36 


-42 


-39.79 




30.20 


30.04 


30.112 


S.W. 


Light breezes and fine. 


17 


-30 


-40 


-35.03 




30.21 


30.09 


30.158 


North 


Ditto. Ditto. 


18 


-34 


-37 


-36.00 




30.07 


29.97 


30.054 


N.N.W. 


Fresh breezes and clear, with drift snow. 


19 


-38 


-47 


-42.92 




30.20 


30.12 


30.165 


C North round by 1 
j West to S.W. ( 


Light airs and fine— calm at times. 


20 


-40 


-47 


-43.71 




30.14 


29.96 


30.057 


t Half N.N.W. \ 
\ Half North j 


Light breezes and fine. 


21 


-20 


-40.5 


-27.79 




29.81 


29.72 


29.765 


North 


Fresh breezes and hazy, with drift snow. 


22 


-21 


-25 


-23.00 




29.72 


29.72 


29.720 


North 


Strong gales and squally, with considerable drift. 


23 






-25 




30.20 


29.92 


30.000 


North 


Ditto. Ditto 


24 






-15 




30.11 


29.83 


29.982 


North 


Fresh breezes and fine, with drift snow. 


25 


-5 


-18 


-11.75 




29.81 


29.73 


29.770 


N.bW. 


Moderate breezes and hazy, with light snow. 


26 


-20 


-28 


-24.79 




29.70 


29.67 


29.690 


N.N.W. 


Light breezes and fine. 


27 


-13 


-28.5 


-18.38 




29.67 


29.63 


29.650 


West 


Ditto Ditto. 


28 


-24.5 


-32 


-28.29 




29.80 


29.68 


29.750 


North 


Light breezes and fine. 


29 


-31 


-32.5 


-31.92 




29.75 


29.72 


29.740 


( North i 
{ Calm 5 


Light variable airs and calms. 


30 


-32 


-34 


-33.58 




29.73 


29.66 


29.695 


N.N.W. 


Light airs and fine clear weather. 




+ 


-47 


- 20.60 




30.32 


29.63 


29.945 







VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY 121 • 

On the 14th of December, the day was beautifully serene and clear, and 1819. 
there was more redness in the southern sky about noon, than there had been \^^^' 
for many days before ; the tints, indeed, might almost be called prismatic. Tue». 14. 
At six P.M., the Aurora Borealis was seen forming two concentric arches, 
passing from the western horizon on each side of the zenith to within 20° of 
the opposite horizon, resting on a dark cloud about seven degrees high, from 
behind which the light appeared to issue, and partially streaming from the 
cloud to the zenith. No effect was produced by it on the electrometer or the 
magnetic needle. The appearance I have just described of the light seeming 
to issue from behind an ojbscure cloud, is a very common one ; it is not always, 
however, easy to tell whether any cloud really exists, or whether the appear- 
ance is a deception arising from the vivid light of the Aurora being con- 
trasted with the darker colour of the sky near it. 

On the 17th, in the morning, this phenomenon was again observed, being a Frid. 17. 
stationary faint light from S.W. to VT.S.W. The breeze freshened up strong 
from the eastward, and the thermometer gradually rose, as usual, till at four 
P.M. it had reached zero, being the first time that it had stood so high since 
the 5th of November. The water in the Hecla's pump-well had, by this 
time, become completely frozen, so that it was no longer possible to work 
the pumps. In what manner the pumps could be kept free under such cir- 
cumstances, if it were found necessary, I do not know, as there would have 
been a risk of damaging the lower part of them, in detaching the ice from it 
to make the experiment. The Hecla, however, was so tight as not to re- 
quire it ; as a proof of which it need only be mentioned, that the same twenty 
inches of ice which was formed about this period, remained without any 
addition for more than six months, during which time she was never once 
pumped out ; and the only inconvenience that resulted from this, was the 
accumulation of a small quantity of ice among the coals in the lower part of 
the fore and main holds. 

About this part of the winter, we began to experience a more serious in- 
convenience from the bursting of the lemon-juice bottles by frost, the whole 
contents being frequently frozen into a solid mass, except a small portion of 
highly-concentrated acid in the centre, which, in most instances, was found 
to have leaked out, so that when the ice was thawed, it was little better 
than water. This evil increased to a very alarming degree in the course of the 
winter: some cases being opened in which more than two-thirds of the lemon- 
juice was tlius destroyed, and the remainder rendered nearly inefficient. It 



123 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. was at first supposed that this accident might have been prevented by not quite 
ecera . gji|jj^„ ^j^g bottles, but it was afterwards found, that the corks flying out did 



not save them from breaking. We observed that the greatest damage 
was done in those cases vi^hich were stowed nearest to the ship's side, and 
we, therefore, removed all the rest amidships, a precaution which, had it 
been sooner known and adopted, would probably have prevented, at least, 
a part of the mischief. The vinegar, also, became frozen in the casks in the 
same manner, and lost a great deal of its acidity when thawed. This 
circumstance conferred an additiorial value on a few gallons of very highly 
concentrated vinegar, which had been sent out on trial, upon this and the 
preceding voyage, and which, when mixed with six or seven times its own 
quantity of water, was sufficiently acid for every purpose. This vinegar, 
when exposed to the temperature of 25° below zero, congealed only into a 
consistence like that of the thickest honey, but was never sufficiently hard to 
break any vessel which contained it. There can be no doubt, therefore, 
that on this account as well as to save stowage, this kind of vinegar should 
exclusively be used in these regions ; and, for similar reasons, of still greater 
importance, the lemon-juice should be concentrated. 

Sun. 19. On the 19th, the weather being fine and clear, the Aurora Borealis appeared 
frequently at different times of the day, generally from the south to the 
W.N.W. quarters, and not very vivid. From eight P.M. till midnight, how- 
ever, it became more brilliant, and broke out in every part of the heavens, 
being generally most bright from S.S.W. to S.W., where it had the appear- 
ance of emerging from behind a dark cloud about five degrees above the 
horizon. We could not, however, help feeling some disappointment in not 
having yet witnessed this beautiful phenomenon in any degree of perfection, 
which could be compared to that which occurs at Shetland, or in the Atlantic, 

Mon. 20. about the same latitude as these islands. On the morning of the 20th, the 
Aurora Borealis again made its appearance in the N.W., which was more 
to the northward than usual ; it here resembled two small bright clouds, the 
one nearly touching the other, and being about seven degrees above the ho- 
rizon. These remained quite stationary for half an hour, and then broke up 
into streams shooting rapidly towards the zenith. 

Wed. 22. ^^ ^^^ ^ow reached the shortest day, and such was the occupation which 
we had hitherto contrived to find during the first half of our long and gloomy 
winter, that the quickness with which it had come upon us was a subject of 
general remark. So far, indeed, were we from wanting that occupation 




X 



-:^ 






OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 123 

of which I had been apprehensive, especially among the men, that it acci- 1810. 
dentally came to my knowledge about this period, that they complained of vl^^^' 
not having time to mend their clothes. This complaint I was as glad to hear, 
as desirous to rectify ; and I therefore ordered that, in future, one afternoon 
in each week should be set aside for that particular purpose. 

The circumstances of our situation being such as have never before oc- 
curred to the crews of any of His Majesty's ships, it may not, perhaps, be 
considered wholly uninteresting, to know in what manner our time was thus 
so fully occupied throughout the long and severe winter, which it was our 
lot to experience, and particularly during a three months' interval of nearly 
total darkness. 

The officers and quarter-masters were divided into four watches, which 
were regularly kept, as at sea, Avhile the remainder of the ship's company 
were allowed to enjoy their night's rest undisturbed. The hands were turned 
up at a quarter before six, and both decks were well rubbed with stones and 
warm sand before eight o'clock, at which time, as usual at sea, both officers 
and men went to breakfast. Three-quarters of an hour being allowedafterbreak- 
fast for the men to prepare themselves for muster, we then beat to divisions 
punctually at a quarter-past nine, when every person on board attended on the 
quarter-deck, and a strict inspection of the men took place, as to their per- 
sonal cleanliness, and the good condition, as well as sufficient warmth, of 
their clothing. The reports of the officers having been made to me, the 
people were then allowed to walk about, or, more usually, to run round the 
upper deck, while I went down to examine the state of that below, accom- 
panied, as I before mentioned, by Lieutenant Beechey and Mr. Edwards. 
The state of this deck may be said, indeed, to have constituted the chief 
source of our anxiety, and to have occupied by far the greatest share of our 
attention at this period. Whenever any dampness appeared, or, what more 
frequently happened, any accumulation of ice had taken place during the 
preceding night, the necessary means were immediately adopted for re- 
moving it ; in the former case usually by rubbing the wood with cloths, and 
then directing the warm air-pipe towards the place ; and in the latter, by 
scraping off the ice, so as to prevent its wetting the deck by any accidental 
increase of temperature. In this respect the bed-places were particularly 
troublesome ; the inner partition, or that next the ship's side, being almost 
invariably covered with more or less dampness or ice, according to the tem- 
perature of the deck during the preceding night. This inconvenience might 



l-gft VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. to a great degree have been avoided, by a sufficient quantity of fuel to keep 
Decemb. ^^ ^^^ good fires on the lower deck, throughout the twenty -four hours ; but 
our stock of coals would by no means permit this, bearing in mind the pos- 
sibility of our spending a second winter within the Arctic circle ; and this 
comfort could only, therefore, be allowed on a few occasions, during the 
most severe part of the winter. 

In the course of my examination of the lower deck, I had always an op- 
portunity of seeing those few men who were on the sick list, and of re- 
ceiving from Mr. Edwards a report of their respective cases ; as also of con- 
sulting that gentleman as to the means of improving the warmth, ventilation, 
and general comfort of the inhabited parts of the ship. Having performed 
this duty, we returned to the upper deck, where I personally inspected the 
men; after which they were sent out to walk on shore when the weather would 
permit, till noon, when they returned on board to their dinner. When the 
day was too inclement for them to take this exercise, they were ordered to 
run round and round the deck, keeping step to a tune on the organ, or, not 
unfrequently, to a song of their own singing. Among the men were a 
few who did not at first quite like this systematic mode of taking exercise ; 
but when they found that no plea, except that of illness, was admitted as 
an excuse, they not only willingly and cheerfully complied, but made it the 
occasion of much humour and frolic among themselves. 

The officers, who dined at two o'clock, were also in the habit of occupying 
one or two hours in the middle of the day in rambling on shore, even in our 
darkest period, except when a fresh wind and a heavy snow-drift confined 
them within the housing of the ships. It may be well imagined that at 
this period, there was but little to be met with in our walks on shore, which 
could either amuse or interest us. The necessity of not exceeding the 
limited distance of one or two miles, lest a snow-drift, which often rises very 
suddenly, should prevent our return, added considerably to the dull and 
tedious monotony which, day after day, presented itself. To the southward 
was the sea, covered with one unbroken surface of ice, uniform in its daz- 
zling whiteness, except that, in some parts, a few hummocks were seen 
thrown up somewhat above the general level. Nor did the land offer much 
greater variety, being almost entirely covered with snow, except here and 
there a brown patch of bare ground in some exposed situations, where the 
wind had not allowed the snow to remain. When viewed from the summit of 
the neighbouring hills, on one of those calm and clear days, which not 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 125 

unfrequently occurred during the winter, the scene was such as to induce J819. 
contemplations, which had, perhaps, more of melancholy than of any other \^^r<^' 
feeling. Not an object was to be seen on which the eye could long rest with 
pleasure, unless when directed to the spot where the ships lay, and where 
our little colony was planted. The smoke which there issued from the 
several fires, affording a certain indication of the presence of man, gave a 
partial cheerfulness to this part of the prospect, and the sound of voices 
which, during the cold weather, could be heard at a much greater distance 
than usual, served now and then to break the silence which reigned around 
us, a silence far different from that peaceable composure which characterizes 
the landscape of a cultivated country ; it was the death-like stillness of the 
most dreary desolation, and the total absence of animated existence. Such, 
indeed, was the want of objects to afford relief to the eye or amusement to 
the mind, that a stone of more than usual size appearing above the snow, in 
the direction in which we were going, immediately became a mark, on which 
our eyes were unconsciously fixed, and towards which we mechanically ad- 
vanced. 

Dreary as such a scene must necessarily be, it could not, however, be 
said to be wholly wanting in interest, especially when associated in the 
mind with the peculiarity of our situation, the object which had brought 
us hither, and the hopes which the least sanguine among us sometimes en- 
tertained, of spending a part of our next winter in the more genial climate 
of the South-Sea Islands. Perhaps, too, though none of us then ventured to 
confess it, our thoughts would sometimes involuntarily wander homewards, 
and institute a comparison between the rugged face of nature in this desolate 
region, and the livelier aspect of the happy land which we had left behind us. 

We had frequent occasion, in our walks on shore, to remark the deception 
which takes place in estimating the distance and magnitude of objects, when 
viewed over an unvaried surface of snow. It was not uncommon for us to 
direct our steps towards what we took to be a large mass of stone, at the 
distance of half a mile from us, but which we were able to take up in our 
hands after one minute's walk. This was more particularly the case, when 
ascending the brow of a hill, nor did we find that the deception became 
less, on account of the frequency with which we experienced its effects. 

In the afternoon, the men were usually occupied in drawing and knotting 
yarns, and in making points and gaskets ; a never-failing resource, where 
mere occupation is required, and which it was necessary to perform entirely 



136 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1819. on the lower deck, the yarns becoming so hard and brittle, when exposed 
'^^^^ on deck to the temperature of the atmosphere, as to be too stiff for work- 
ing, and very easily broken. I may in this place remark, that our lower 
rigging became extremely slack during the severity of the winter, and gra- 
dually tightened again as the spring returned : effects the very reverse of 
those which we had anticipated, and which I can only account for by the 
extreme dryness of the atmosphere in the middle of winter, and the sub- 
sequent increase of moisture. 

At half-past five in the evening, the decks were cleared up, and at 
six we again beat to divisions, when the same examination of the men 
and of their births and bed-places took place as in the morning ; the people 
then went to their supper, and the officers to tea. After this time the men 
were permitted to amuse themselves as they pleased, and games of 
various kinds, as well as dancing and singing occasionally, went on upon 
the lower deck till nine o'clock, when they went to bed, and their lights 
were extinguished. In order to guard against accidents by fire, where so 
many fires and lights were necessarily in use, the quarter-masters visited 
the lower deck every half hour during the night, and made , their report to 
the officers of the watches that all was, in this respect, safe below ; and to 
secure a ready supply of water in case of fire, a hole was cut twice a day in 
the ice, close alongside each ship. It is scarcely necessary to add, that the 
evening occupations of the officers were of a more rational kind than those 
which engaged the attention of the men. Of these, reading and writing were 
the principal employments, to which were occasionally added a game at 
chess, or a tune on the flute or violin, till half-past ten, about which time we 
all retired to rest. 

Such were the employments which usually occupied us for six days in 
the week, with such exceptions only as circumstances at the time suggested. 
On Sundays, divine service was invariably performed, and a sermon read 
on board both ships ; the prayer appointed to be daily used at sea being 
altered, so as to adapt it to the service in which we were engaged, the 
success which had hitherto attended our efforts, and the peculiar circum- 
stances under which we were at present placed. The attention paid by the 
men to the observance of their religious duties, was such as to reflect upon 
them the highest credit, and tended in no small degree to the preservation 
of that regularity and good conduct, for which, with very few exceptions 
they were invariably distinguished. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 127 

Our theatrical entertainments took place regularly once a fortnight, and 1819. 
continued to prove a source of infinite amusement to the men. Our stock of ^^^^ ' 
plays was so scanty, consisting only of one or two volumes, which happened 
accidentally to be on board, that it was with difficulty we could find the 
means of varying the performances sufficiently ; our authors, therefore, set 
to work, and produced, as a Christmas piece, a musical entertainment, ex- 
pressly adapted to our audience, and having such a reference to the service 
on which we were engaged, and the success we had so far experienced, as 
at once to afford a high degree of present recreation, and to stimulate, if 
possible, the sanguine hopes which were entertained by all on board, of the 
complete accomplishment of our enterprise. We were at one time ap- 
prehensive, that the severity of the weather would have prevented the 
continuance of this amusement, but the perseverance of the officers over- 
came every difficulty ; and, perhaps for the first time since theatrical en- 
tertainments were invented, more than one or two plays were performed, 
on board the Hecla, with the thermometer below zero on the stage. 

The North Georgia Gazette, which I have already mentioned, was a source 
of great amusement, not only to the contributors, but to those who, from 
diffidence of their own talents, or other reasons, could not be prevailed on 
to add their mite to the little stock of literary composition, which was 
weekly demanded ; for those who declined to write were not unwilling to 
read, and more ready to criticise than those who wielded the pen ; but it 
was that good-humoured sort of criticism that could not give offence. The 
subjects handled in this paper were, of course, various, but generally ap- 
plicable to our own situation. Of its merits or defects it will not be necessary 
for me to say any thing here, as I find that the officers, who were chiefly 
concerned in carrying it on, have agreed to print it for the entertainment of 
their friends ; the publisher being at liberty, after supplying each with a 
certain number of copies, to dispose of the rest. 

The return of each successive day had been always very decidedly marked 
by a considerable twilight for some time about noon, that on the shortest 
day being sufficient to enable us to walk out very comfortably for nearly two 
hours*. There was usually, in clear weather, a beautiful arch of bright 



128 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

.1819. red light, overspreading the southern horizon for an hour or two before 
\.*->-*^ and atter noon, the light increasing, of course, in strength, as the sun ap. 
preached the meridian. Short as the day now was, if indeed any part of 
the twenty-four hours could properly be called by that name, the reflection of 
light from the snow, aided occasionally by a bright moon, was at all times 
sufficient to prevent our experiencing, even under the most unfavourable cir- 
cumstances, any thing like the gloomy night which occurs in more temperate 
climates. Especial care was taken, during the time the sun was below 
the horizon, to preserve the strictest regularity in the time of our meals, 
and in the various occupations which engaged our attention during the day ; 
and this, together with the gradual and imperceptible manner in which the 
days had shortened, prevented this kind of life, so novel to us in reality, 
from appearing very inconvenient, or indeed like any thing out of the common 
way. It must be confessed, however, that we were not sorry to have ar- 
rived, without any serious suffering, at the shortest day ; and we watched, 
with no ordinary degree of pleasure, the slow approach of the returning sun, 
. We had generally found the ice to crack near the shore, as I have already 
had occasion to observe, about the second day after the new and full moon, 
in consequence of the highest tides taking place at that time; but this was not 
the case in the present lunation ; the separation of the ice from the beach not 
having taken place till the 22d, or five days and eight hours after the time of 
the new moon. This retardation of the tides may, perhaps, have arisen from 
the circumstance of the moon and sun having both had their greatest south 
declination about the usual time of the highest spring-tide. It may possibly 
have been affected also by fresh gales from the eastward, which blew on the 
17th and I8th. 
Sat. 25. On Christmas-day the weather was raw and cold, with a considerable snow- 
drift, though the wind was only moderate from the N.W. ; but the snow 
which falls during the severe winter of this climate is composed of spiculae 
so extremely minute, that +J requires very little wind to raise and carry it 
along. To mark the day in the best manner which circumstances would 
permit, divine service was performed on board the ships ; and I directed 
a small increase in the men's usual proportion of fresh nxeat as a Christmas- 
dinner, as well as an additional allowance of grog, to drink the health of 
their friends in England. The officers also met at a social and friendly din- 
ner, and the day passed with much of the same kind of festivity by which it 
is usually distinguished at home ; and, to the credit of the men be it spoken, 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 129 

without any of that disorder by which it is too often observed by seamen. 1819. 
A piece of English roast-beef, which formed part of the officers' dinner, had v,^^^' 
been on board since the preceding May, and preserved without salt during 
that period, merely by the antiseptic properties of a cold atmosphere. 

Between eight and nine A.M. on the 26th, the wiiid freshened up very 
suddenly to a strong breeze from the northward and westward, and during 
that hour the thermometer rose from — 20° to — 6°. In the afternoon the 
wind became moderate and variable in its direction, and the thermometer had 
again fallen to — 17° at midnight, and continued to fall very gradually for the 
four following days, till on the 30th it had reached — 43°, being the lowest 
temperature we had yet experienced. During the whole of that interval the 
weather was nearly calm, and very fine and clear, and at half past seven 
A.M. on the 30th, the mercury in the barometer stood at 30.755 inches, being 
the highest we had yet seen it during the voyage. The colours of the southern 
sky near the horizon were observed to be remarkably prismatic at noon on 
that day. 

A great many frost-bites occurred about this time, principally in the men's Thur. 30. 
feet, even when they had been walking quickly on shore for exercise. On ex- 
amining their boots, Mr. Edwards remarked, that the stiffness of the thick 
leather, of which they were made, was such as to cramp the feet, and prevent 
the circulation from going on freely, and that this alone was sufficient to 
account for their feet having been frost-bitten. Being very desirous of 
avoiding these accidents, which from the increased sluggishness with which 
the sores healed, were more and more likely to affect the general health of 
the patients by long confinement, I directed a pair of canvass boots, lined 
with blanketing, or some other woollen stuff, to be made for each man, using 
raw hide as soles ; this completely answered the desired purpose, as scarcely 
any frost-bites in the feet afterwards occurred, except under circumstances of 
very severe exposure. 

On the 31st of December, another striking instance occurred of the Frid. 31. 
simultaneous rise in the wind and the thermometer. At two A.M. the latter 
stood at -28°, but the wind freshening up to a strong breeze from the north- 
ward and eastward, and afterwards from the S.S.E. in the course of the day, 
the thermometer gradually rose at the same time, and stood at + 5° at mid- 
night ; thus closing the year with milder weather than we had enjoyed for 
the eight preceding weeks. 



ABSTRACT of the METEOROLOGICAL JOURNAL kept on board His Majesty's Ship Hecla, 






during the Month of December 


, 1819. 


Day 


Temperature of Air 
in shade. 


Barometer. 


Prevailing Winds. 


Prevailing Weather. 


Mari- 


Mini- 


Mean. 


Maxi- 


Mini- 


Mean. 


1 


o 
-25 


-3°4 


- 30.29 


inches. 
29.60 


inches. ' inches. 
29.57 29.582 


Round the compass . 




Light airs and fine. 


2 


28 


36 


32.96 


29.60 


29.52 


29.570 


5 HalfN.N.W. > 
t HalfS.b.E. S 




Ditto ditto. 


3 


9 


23 


16.04 


29.46 


29.40 


29.430 


S.b.E. 




Fresh breezes and hazy. 


4 


26 


34 


31.71 


29.42 


29.36 


29.395 


W.N.W. 




Moderate and hazy. 


5 


27 


35 


31.25 


29.46 


29.36 


29.397 


N.b.W. 




Moderate and fine. 


6 


23 


34 


27.00 


29.51 


29.45 


29.470 


West. 




Light airs and fine. 


7 


19 


26 


22.29 


29.67 


29.53 


29.592 


S.E. 




Light airs and hazy. 


8 


15 


22 


19.67 


29.80 


29.67 


29.738 


E.S.E. 




Moderate and clear. 


9 


17 


21 


18.83 


29.89 


29.83 


29.867 


E.b.S. 




Fresh breezes and hazy. 


10 


18 


21 


19.33 


:29.90 


29.89 


29.893 


East. 




Fresh breezes and clear. 


11 


4 


20 


11.21 


29.80 


29.65 


29.715 


E.b.S. 




Fresh breezes and hazy. 


12 


9 


20 


14.42 


29.74 


29.67 


29.700 


North 




Fresh breezes and clear. 


13 


7 


14 


10.96 


29.92 


29.79 


29.865 


N.W.b.N. 




Light breezes and hazy. 


14 


7 


10 


8.29 


30.40 


30.04 


30.230 


C A.M.,N.W.b.W.> 
I P.M.,S.W. S 




Ditto ditto. 


15 


7 


15 


11.63 


30.39 


30.23 


30.350 


East. 




Moderate and hazy. 


16 


8 


18 


13.50 


30.31 


30.13 


30.240 


E.S.E. 




Moderate and fine clear weather. 


17 





9 


4.37 


30.00 


29.85 


29.905 


East. 




Strong breezes and cloudy, with drift. 


18 


3 


11 


5.00 


29.90 


29.84 


29.886 


East. 




Ditto ditto. 


19 


9 


24 


17.46 


29.95 


29.94 


29.945 


N.N.W, 




Moderate and fine. 


20 


19 


25 


22.83 


29.96 


29.93 


29.940 


N.b.W. 




Fresh breezes and cloudy. 


21 


19 


25 


23.50 


30.11 


30.00 


30.071 


North 




Ditto with drift. 


22 


27 


35 


31.00 


30.06 


30.05 


30.052 


N.N.W. 




Light breezes and fine. 


23 


30 


37 


33.83 


30.10 


30.03 


30.060 


N.W. 




Ditto ditto 


24 


24 


34 


31.17 


30.01 


29.71 


29.842 


C Half N.W. 7 
I HalfN.N.W. I 




Moderate and fine. 


25 


23.5 


30 


26.04 


29.69 


29.59 


29.648 


N.W. 




Ditto ditto. 


26 


5 


34 


16.21 


29.35 


29.10 


29.226 


N.W. 




Fresh breezes and hazy with drift. 


27 


17 


32 


24.58 


29.94 


29.47 


29.710 


W.N.W. 




Moderate and fine. 


28 


34 


39 


36.75 


30.33 


30.01 


30.162 


South. 




Light breezes and fine. 


29 


34 


40 


37.38 


30.71 


30.40 


30.562 


South. 




Ditto ditto. 


30 


30 


43 


38.96 


30.75 


30.62 


30.688 


North 




Ditto ditto. 


31 


+ 6 


28 


7.17 


30.39 


29.80 


30.092 


5 A.M.,N-N.E. > 
\ P.M., East. S 




Strong breezes and hazy with drift snow. 




+ 6 


-43 


-21.79 


30.75 


29.10; 


29.865 



VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. 



131 



CHAPTER VI. 



FIRST APPEARANCE OP SCURVY — THE AURORA BOREALIS AND OTHER 
METEOROLOGICAL PHENOMENA — VISITS OF THE WOLVES — RE-APPEAR- 
ANCE OF THE SUN — EXTREME LOW TEMPERATURE — DESTRUCTION OF 
THE HOUSE ON SHORE BY FIRE — SEVERE FROST-BITES OCCASIONED BY 
THIS ACCIDENT. 



1820. 
January. 

Sat. 1 . 



1 HE mild weather with which the new year commenced was not of long 
duration ; for, as the wind gradually moderated, the thermometer slowly fell 
once more to the average temperature of the atmosphere at this season. The 
quantity of snow which had fallen at this time was so small, that its general 
depth on shore did not exceed one or two inches, except where it had 
drifted into the ravines and hollows. At ten A.M., on the 1st, a halo, whose 
radius was 22° 30', with three paraselenae, which were very luminous, but not 
tinged with the prismatic colours, was seen about the moon, similar to that 
described on the 1st of December; and' on the following day the same Sun. 2. 
phenomenon occurred, with the addition of a vertical stripe of white light 
proceeding from the upper and lower limbs of the moon, and forming, with a 
part of the horizontal circle seen before, the appearance of a cross, as shewn 
in the accompanying diagram. There was also at times an arc of another 




^W2 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. circle touching the halo, which sometimes reached almost to the zenith, 
January. ^^^ changed the intensity of its light very frequently, not unlike the Aurora 
Borealis. 

I received this morning the first unpleasant report of the scurvy having 
made its appearance among us: Mr. Scallon, the gunner of the Hecla, 
had for some days past been complaining of pains in his legs, which 
Mr. Edwards at first took to be rheumatic, but which together with the 
appearance of his gums, now left no doubt of the symptoms being scor- 
butic. It is so uncommon a thing for this disease to make its first ap- 
pearance among the officers, that Mr. Edwards was naturally curious to in- 
quire into the cause of it; and at length discovered that Mr. Scallon's bedding 
was in so damp a state, in consequence of the deposit of moisture in his 
bed-place, which I have before mentioned, as to leave no doubt that to this 
circumstance, as the immediate exciting cause, his illness might justly be 
attributed. The difficulty of preventing this deposit of moisture, and the 
consequent accumulation of ice, was much greater in the officers' bed-places 
than in those of the men, in consequence of the former being necessarily 
placed in close contact with the ships' sides, and foraiing an immediate com- 
munication, as it were, with the external atmosphere ; whereas in the latter, 
there was a vacant interval of eighteen inches in width interposed between 
them. To prevent, as much as possible, therefore, the injurious effects of 
this evil upon the health of the officers, I appointed certain days for the 
airing of their bedding by the fires, as well as for that of the ships' companies. 
Every attention was paid to Mr. Scallon's case by the medical gentlemen, 
and all our anti-scorbutics were put in requisition for his recovery ; these con- 
sisted principally of preserved vegetable soups, lemon-juice, and sugar, 
pickles, preserved currants and gooseberries, and spruce-beer. I began also 
about this time to raise a small quantity of mustard and cress in my cabin, in 
small shallow boxes filled with mould, and placed along the stove-pipe ; by 
these means, even in the severity of the winter, we could generally ensure 
a crop at the end of the sixth or seventh day after sowing the seed, which, 
by keeping several boxes at work, would give to two or three scorbutic 
patients nearly an ounce of salad each daily, even though the necessary 
economy in our coals did not allow of the fire being kept in at night. Had 
this been allowable, and a proper apparatus at hand for the purpose, there is 
no doubt that it might have been raised much more rapidly : and those who 
are aw^are how perfect a specific a very small quantity of fresh vegetable sub- 



J 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 133 

stance is for the scurvy, will, perhaps, agree with me in thinking that such an I82u. 
apparatus would form a very valuable appendage to be applied occasionally ^!i^^' 
to the cabin-stove. The mustard and cress thus raised were neces- 
sarily colourless, from the privation of light, but, as far as we could judge, 
they possessed the same pungent aromatic taste as if grown under ordi- 
nary circumstances. So effectual were these remedies in Mr. Scallon's case, 
that, on the ninth evening from the attack, he was able to walk about on 
the lower deck for some time, and he assured me that he could then " run 
a race." 

On the morning of the 4th, a cross appeared about the moon, consisting of 
vertical and horizontal rays of white light, similar to those described on the 
2d, but unaccompanied by any halo. The thermometer was at —44° in the 
early part of the day ; but the wind freshening to a strong breeze from the 
northward, the temperature of the atmosphere was considerably raised, as 
usual, the thermometer having got up to —36° at ten P.M. The temperature 
of the holds in the fore-part of the ship was now generally as low as 22°, 
that of the Hecla's lower-deck being seldom above 40°, except during the 
ships' companies' meals. 

The 7th of January was one of the most severe days to the feelings which Frid. 7. 
we experienced during the winter, the wind being strong from the northward 
with a heavy drift, and the thermometer continuing from —38° to —40°. 
It is impossible to conceive any thing more inclement than such a day, when 
we could with difficulty pass and repass between the two ships, and were 
glad to keep every person closely confined on board. 

At half-past five P.M., on the 8th, the Aurora Borealis was seen forming a Sat. 8. 
broken and irregular arch of white light, 10° or 12° high in the centre, ex- 
tending from N.b.W., round by W. to S.S.E. with occasional coruscations 
proceeding from it towards the zenith. It continued thus for an hour, and 
re-appeared from eight o'clock till midnight in a similar manner, making, 
however, but a poor display of this beautiful phenomenon. Neither the mag- 
netic needle, nor the gold-leaf of the electrometer, were, in either instance, in 
the slightest degree affected by it. 

7 At eight A.M. on the 11th, faint coruscations of the Aurora Borealis wereTues. ll. 

hobserved to dart with inconceivable rapidity across the heavens from W.N.W. 

to E.S.E., from horizon to horizon, and passing about 25° to the south of the 

zenith. At noon to-day, the temperature of the atmosphere had got down 

to 49° below zero, being the greatest degree of cold which we had yet 



VOYAGE tOfe tHE DISCOVERY 

1820. experienced ; but the weather being quite calm, we walked on shore for an 
,^^IJ^' hour without inconvenience, the sensation of cold depending much more on 
the degree of wind at the time, than on the absolute temperature of the at- 
mosphere, as indicated by the thermometer. In several of the accounts 
given of those countries in which an intense degree of natural cold is 
experienced, some effects are attributed to it which certainly did not come 
under our observation in the course of this winter. The first of these 
is the dreadful sensation said to be produced on the lungs, causing them 
to feel as if torn asunder, when the air is inhaled at a very low tem* 
perature. No such sensation was ever experienced by us, though in going 
from the cabins into the open air, and vice versa, we were constantly in the 
habit for some months of undergoing a change of from 80° to 100°, and, in 
several instances, 120° of temperature in less than one minute ; and what is 
still more extraordinary, not a single inflammatory complaint, beyond a 
slight cold which was cured by common care in a day or two, occurred 
during this particular period. The second is, the vapour with which the 
air of an inhabited room is charged, condensing into a shower of snow, 
immediately on the opening of a door or window, communicating with 
the external atmosphere. This goes much beyond any thing that we had an 
opportunity of observing. What happened Math us was simply this; on 
the opening of the doors at the top and bottom of our hatchway ladders, 
the vapour was immediately condensed by the sudden admission of the 
cold air, into a visible form, exactly resembling a very thick smoke, which 
settled on all the pannels of the doors and bulk-heads, and immediately 
froze, by which means the latter were covered with a thick coating of 
ice which it was necessary frequently to scrape off; but we never, to 
my knowledge, witnessed the conversion of the vapour into snow, during 
its fall. 
Sat. 15. On the evening of the 15th, the atmosphere being clear and serene, we 
were gratified by a sight of the only very brilliant and diversified display of 
Aurora Borealis, which occurred during the whole winter ; I believe it to be 
almost impossible for words to give an idea of the beauty and variety which 
this magnificent phenomenon displayed; I am at least certain, that no descrip- 
tion of mine can convey an adequate conception of it, and I therefore gladly 
avail myself of the following account, by Captain Sabine, which was furnished 
bv my request at the time for insertion in my Journal. 

" Mr. Edwards, from whom Tve first heard that the Aurora was visible, 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 135 

described it as forming a complete arch, having its legs nearly north 1820. 
and south of each other, and passing a little to the eastward of the zenith. ^^^^' 
When I went upon the ice, the arch had broken up ; towards the southern 
horizon was the ordinary Aurora, such as we had lately seen on clear nights, 
being a pale light, apparently issuing from behind an obscure cloud, at from 
six to twelve degrees of altitude, extending more or less towards the east or 
west on different nights, and at different times of the same night, having no 
determined centre or point of bisection, the greater part, and even at times 
the whole of the luminous appearance being sometimes to the east, and some- 
times to the west of south, but rarely seen in the northern horizon, or beyond 
the east and west points of the heavens. This corresponds with the Aurora 
most commonly noticed in Britain, except that it is there as peculiar to the 
northern as here to the southern horizon, occasionally shooting upAvards in 
rays and gleams of light. It was not distinguished by any unusual bril- 
liancy or extent on this occasion, the splendid part of the phenomenon being 
detached and apparently quite distinct. 

" The luminous arch had broken into irregular masses, streaming with 
much rapidity in different directions, varying continually in shape and in- 
tensity, and extending themselves from north, by the east, to south. If the 
surface of the heavens be supposed to be divided by a plane passing through 
the meridian, the Aurora was confined, during the time I saw it, to the 
eastern side of the plane, and was usually most vivid and in larger masses in 
the E.S.E. than elsewhere. Mr. Parry and I noticed to each other, that 
where the Aurora was very brilliant, the stars seen through it were somewhat 
dimmed, though this remark is contrary to former experience. 

" The distribution of light has been described as irregular and in constant 
change ; the various masses, however, seemed to have a tendency to arrange 
themselves into two arches, one passing near the zenith, and a second about 
midway between the zenith and horizon, both having generally a north and 
south direction, but curving towards each other, so that their legs produced 
would complete an ellipse; these arches were as quickly dispersed as 
formed. At one time a, part of the arch near the zenith was bent into con- 
yolutions, resembling those of a snake in motion, and undulating rapidly ; an 
appearance which we had not before observed. The end towards the north 
was also bent like a shepherd's crook, which is not uncommon. It is diffi- 
cult to compare the light produced by an Aurora with that of the moon, 
because the shadows are rendered faint and indistinct by reaspn of the general 



136 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

182a. diflfusion of the Aurora; but I should think the effect of the one now de- 
v^;^^i^' scribed, scarcely equal to that of the moon when a week old. The usual 
pale light of the Aurora strongly resembles that produced by the combustion 
of phosphorus ; a very slight tinge of red was noticed on this occasion, when 
the Aurora was most vivid, but no other colours were visible. Soon after we 
returned on board, the splendid part wholly disappeared, leaving only the 
ordinary light near the horizon ; in other respects, the night remained un- 
changed, but on the following day it blew a fresh gale from the north 
and N.N.W." This Aurora had the appearance of being very near us, and we 
listened attentively for the sound which is said sometimes to accompany bril- 
liant displays of this phenomenon, but neither on this nor on any other oc- 
Sun. 16. casion, could any be distinguished. On the following day, the Aurora was 
repeatedly seen for an hour or two together, assuming the shape of a long low 
arch, from 3° to 12° high in the centre, extending from south to N.W. 

About this time it had been remarked, that a white setter dog belonging 
to Mr. Beverly had left the Griper for several nights past at the same 
time, and had regularly returned after some hours' absence. As the day- 
light increased, we had frequent opportunities of seeing him in company 
with a she-wolf, with whom he kept up an almost daily intercourse for 
several weeks, till at length he returned no more to the ships ; having either 
lost his way by rambling to too great a distance, or what is more likely, 
perhaps, been destroyed by the male wolves. Some time after, a large 
dog of mine, which was also getting into the habit of occasionally remaining 
absent for some time, returned on board a good deal lacerated and covered 
with blood, having, no doubt, maintained a severe encounter with a male 
wolf, whom we traced to a considerable distance by the tracks on the 
snow. An old dog, of the Newfoundland breed, that we had on board the 
Hecla, was also in the habit of remaining out with the wolves for a day 
or two together; and we frequently watched them keeping company on the 
most friendly terms. 
Tues. 25. A wolf, which crossed the harbour close to the ships on the 25th, was ob- 
served to be almost entirely white, his body long and extremely lean, stand- 
ing higher on his legs than any of the Esquimaux dogs, but otherwise much 
resembling them ; his tail was long and bushy, and always hanging between 
his legs, and he kept his head very low in running. It is extraordinary that 
we could never succeed in killing or catching one of these animals, though 
we were, for months, almost constantly endeavouring to do so. 



i 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 137 

As the time was now near at hand when the sun was to re-appear above 1820. 
our horizon, we began this day to look out for it from the mast-head, in order .^JilJ^' 
that some observations might be made, as to the amount of the atmospherical 
refraction, which might render it visible to us sooner than under ordinary cir- 
cumstances. For this purpose, and at the same time to avoid the frost-bites 
which might have occurred from keeping any individual at the mast-head 
for too long a space, every man in the ship was sent up in succession, so as to 
occupy the time for ten minutes before and after noon ; and this practice was 
continued till the sun appeared above the horizon from the deck, which it did 
not do till nine days after the commencement of it. 

The loss of lemon-juice, of which I have before had occasion to speak, in 
consequence of the breaking of the bottles by frost, continued still to take place 
to so great a degree, that it now became absolutely necessary to adopt some 
measures for providing against similar contingencies in future, and to pre- 
serve the remainder ; I, therefore, consulted Mr. Edwards as to the propriety 
of reducing the daily allowance of that essential article to three-quarters of 
the usual proportion, being three-quarters of an ounce per man : this, he was 
of opinion, under all circumstances, it was expedient to do, in order to ensure 
a supply in those cases of a scorbutic nature which might hereafter occur ; 
and this reduction was accordingly ordered in both ships. 

At half-past ten P.M., a complete halo of pale light was observed round the Wed. 26. 
moon, its radius being 22°.40, and a similar phenomenon occurred on the 
following night, about the same time. These phenomena almost always 
began to make their appearance about the time of full moon. 

The weather was remarkably clear and fine on the 28th, and the sky beau- 
tifully red to the southward ; but we looked for the sun from the mast-head 
without success. Captain Sabine remarked at noon, that none of the fixed stars, 
even of the first magnitude, could be seen by the naked eye ; Mars, however, 
was plainly visible, by which some judgment may be formed of the power of 
the sun's light at this period. Towards the end of January we began to open 
some of our ports, in order to admit sufficient light for the carpenters and 
armourers to work by, and these were employed in repairing the main-top- 
sail-yard, that we might at least make some shew of commencing our re-equip- 
ment for sea. 



ABSTRACT of the METEOROLOGICAL JOURNAL kept on board His Majesty's Ship Hecla, 








during the 


Month of January, 1820. 


Day 


Temperature of Air 
in shade. 


Barometer. 


Prevailing Winds. 


Prevailing Weather. 


Maxi- 
mum. 


Mini- 
mam. 


Mean. 


Maxi. 


Mini. 


Mean. 


1 


o 
—2 


o 

—28 


—18.33 


inches. 
29.93 


incli e 
29.72 


inclies. 
29.812 


S.S.E. 


Strong breezes and clear weather. 


2 


-19 


—29 


—24.58 


29.71 


29.63 


29.673 


E.S.E. 


Moderate and hazy weather. 


3 


—29 


—42 


—34.62 


30.00 


29.73 


20.870 


West to S.S.W. 


Light variable airs. 


4 


—34 


—44 


-40.17 


30.24 


30.03 


30.132 


N.b.W. 


Fresh breezes and fine clear weather. 


5 


—26 


-35 


—32.00 


30.23 


30.20 


30.207 


N.N.W. 


Moderate and fine. 


6 


-22 


—33 


-28.58 


30.16 


30.09 


30.119 


N.N.W. 


Light breezes and hazy, to fresh breezes and fine. 


7 


-32 


—40 


—37.67 


30.10 


30.03 


30.068 


N.N.W. 


Fresh breezes and fine weather. 


8 


—33 


-38 


—35,83 


30.11 


29.87 


_30.025 


N.N.W. 


Ditto with drift snow. 


9 


—33 


-35 


—34.42 


30.31 


30.10 


30.220 


W.N.W. to S.E. 


Light airs and fine clear weather. 


10 


—32 


—43 


-36.17 


30.35 


30.34 


30.345 


S.E. 


Ditto ditto. 


11 


—43 


—46 


—44.42 


30.33 


30.25 


30.287 


i A.M., Calm. > 
i P.M., N.N.W. S 


Fine weather. 

P.M. Light airs and fine. 


12 


-42 


-47 


—44.71 


30.24 


30.10 


30.168 


N.N.W. 


Light airs to strong breezes— fine weather. 


13 


—40.5 


—17 


—45.29 


30.31 


30.26 


30.288 


W.N.W. 


Light breezes and fine. 


14 


—32 


—40 


—35.08 


30.20 


30.18 


30.193 


N.b.W. 


Strong breezes :— much drift. 


15 


-34 


-39 


—35.73 


30.51 


30.20 


30.335 


East. 


Light breezes and fine. 


10 


-34 


—39 


—37.08 


30.77 


30.65 


30.701 


N.N.E. 


Ditto ditto. 


17 


-16 


—34 


—24.60 


30.59 


30.29 


30.438 


North. 


Strong gales and hazy— heavy drift. 


18 


— 5 


—15 


—10.25 


30.25 


30.15 


30.202 


North. 


5 A.M., Strong gales with heavy drift. 
I P.M., More moderate. 


19 


— 8 


— 2S 


—17.50 


30.25 


30.19 


30.223 


South to N.W. 


Light variable airs and hazy weather. 


20 


-10 


—31 


—24.46 


30.13 


po.io 


30.117 


East. 


Light breezes and fine. 


21 


—16 


—23 


—19.00 


30.09 


30.01 


30.008 


North. 


fA.M. Ditto ditto. 

\ P.M. Fresh breezes with heavy drift. 


22 


-22 


—29 


—26.00 


30.15 


30.06 


30.107 


N.b.W. 


Strong breezes with much drift. 


23 


—18 


—26 


—22.50 


30.11 


30.06 


30.093 


N.N.W. 


Light breezes to strong breezes with heavy drift. 


24 


—20 


—28 


—24.83 


29.87 


29.59 


29.695 


N.NW. 


Fresh gales and squally. 


25 


—23 


—30 


—26.42 


29.69 


29.66 


29.677 


North. 


Moderate and fine. 


26 


-26 


—36 


—31.17 


29.75 


29.67 


29.701 


North. ' 


Fresh breezes to light breezes. 


27 


—32 


-36 


—33.96 


29.90 


29.75 


29.827 


North. 


Ditto ditto. 


28 


—35 


—39 


—37.23 


30.14 


29.94 


30 .055 


N.b.W. 


Light to strong breezes— clear weather. 


29 


—19 


—33 


—26.12 


30.11 


29.94 


30.041 


North. 


Moderate and fine weather. 


30 


-19 


—20 


—19.58 


29.93 


29.90 


29.907 


North to W.N.W. 


Light breezes and hazy. 


31 


-23 


—28 


—24.54 


29.85 


29.83 


29.810 


W.N.W. to East. 


Light airs and hazy. 


- 


—47 


—30.09 


30.77 


29.59 


30.078 



VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. 139 

On the 1st and 2d of February the weather was rather hazy, so that the 1820. 
sun could not have been seen had it been above the horizon, but the 3d v^A^ 
was a beautifully clear and calm day. At eight A.M., a cross, consisting ofi'hurs. 3. 
the usual vertical and horizontal rays, was seen about the moon. At twenty 
minutes before apparent noon, the sun was seen from the Hecla's main-top, at 
the height of fifty-one feet above the sea, being the first time that this 
luminary had been visible to us since the 11th of November, a period of 
eighty-four days, being twelve days less than the time of its remaining 
actually beneath the horizon, independently of the effects of atmospherical 
refraction. On ascending the main-top, 1 found the sun to be plainly visible 
over the land to the south ; but at noon there was a dusky sort of cloud 
hanging about the horizon, which prevented our seeing any thing like a 
defined limb, so as to measure or estimate its altitude correctly. The sun 
appeared, however, to be about half its diameter above the land, and the 
top of the land was 4' 30" above the horizon of the sea, by which the 
whole amount of refraction would appear to have been 1° 24! 04" ; in which 
there is nothing very extraordinary in this latitude and low temperature ; that 
of the atmosphere at this time was — 38°, and the mercury in the barometer 
stood at 29.96 inches, the smoke from the fires on board rising quite perpendi- 
cularly, which was not usually the case under similar circumstances. A vertical 
column of pale red light extended from the upper part of the sun's disc to 
about 3° of altitude ; its intensity was observed to be constantly varying, 
being at times very bright, at others, scarcely perceptible. In these chano-es, 
which were exceedingly rapid, it was not unlike the Aurora Borealis, the lio-ht 
always appearing to shoot upwards, as is most usual in that phenomenon. The 
breadth of this column, which was visible for about three-quarters of an hour 
before and after noon, was equal to that of the sun's diameter, and it was 
much the brightest next the sun. A similar column of light had also been 
observed by Captain Sabine, at ten A.M., immediately over the spot where 
the sun was. 

On several occasions, in the course of the winter, there was an appear- 
ance in the southern horizon very much resembling land at a great distance. 
This appearance was to-day unusually well defined, and seemed to terminate 
in a very abrupt and decided manner, on a S. b. E. bearing from Winter 
Harbour. 

At six P.M. the Aurora Borealis appeared very faintly in a horizontal line 



140 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. of white light, extending from S. to S.S.W., and about 5° above the horizon, 
v.^.^-^ From nine to eleven, it was again seen quite stationary, and very faint, from 
S.S.W. to W.N.W., at three or four degrees of altitude. 

Captain Sabine had, for some time past, kept one of the needles used for 
determining the intensity of the magnetic force, suspended by a silk thread 
in the observatory, for the purpose of remarking more satisfactorily than it 
could be done on board the ships, whether any effect was produced upon it 
by the Aurora Borealis. It might be supposed that, in these regions, where 
the directive power of the needle had almost entirely ceased, it would be 
more easily disturbed by any adventitious cause, than in those parts of the 
globe where the directive energy was greater ; but we never could perceive 
the slightest derangement to be produced in it by the Aurora. 
Frid. 4. On the 4ith we had another sight of the sun, which was so distorted by 
refraction, that nothing like a circular disk could at any time be distinguished. 
At noon a thermometer, plunged into a bank of snow to the depth of two 
feet, indicated the temperature of — 12°, that of the atmosphere being 
— 38°. The temperature of the sea-water was 29° in the fire-hole alongside 
the Hecla, and that of her holds varied from 25° to 22°, the aftermost being 
progressively the warmest. There was to-day an unusual kind of mist in the 
lower part of the atmosphere, which was at times so thick, that the ships 
could scarcely be seen at the distance of two miles. It was a matter of 
frequent remark with us, that, even on the clearest winter days of this 
climate, there was usually a considerable deposit of very light snow, which 
was scarcely perceptible, except when interposed between the eye and any 
dark object, or by the quantity of it which settled on any instrument left to 
stand in the open air : nor do 1 think that the heavenly bodies were ever so 
clearly visible as they are on a winter's night in England. 
Mon. 7. At noon on the 7th, we had the first clear view of the sun which we had 
yet enjoyed since its re-appearance above our horizon, and an indistinct 
parhelion, or mock sun, slightly prismatic, was seen on the eastern side of 
it, at the distance of 22°. 

There was now sufficient day-light, from eight o'clock till four to enable 
us to perform, with great facility, any work outside the ships. 1 was not 
sorry, therefore, to commence upon some of the occupations more immediately 
connected with the equipment of the ships for sea, than those to which we 
had hitherto been obliged to have recourse as mere employment. We, 
therefore, began this day to collect stones for ballast, of which it was calcu- 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 141 

lated that the Hecla would require, in the spring, nearly seventy tons, besides 1820. 
twenty tons of additional water, to make up for the loss of weight by the ^^ 
expenditure of provisions and stores. These stones were brought down on 
sledges about half a mile to the beach, where they were broken into a con- 
venient size for stowage, and then weighed in scales, erected on the beach 
for the purpose ; thus affording to the men a considerable quantity of bodily 
exercise, whenever the weather would permit them to be so employed. 

As we were now, however, approaching the coldest part of the season, it 
became more essential than ever to use the utmost caution in allowing the 
men to remain for any length of time in the open air, on account of the injury 
to their general health, which was likely to result from the inactivity requisite 
to the cure of some of the most trifling frost-bites. Mr. Edwards has favoured 
me with the following brief account of such cases of this nature as occurred 
on board the Hecla: — " The majority of the men who came into the sick-list, 
in consequence of frost-injuries during the severity of the winter, suffered 
mostly in their feet, and especially in their great toes ; and, although none 
of them were so unfortunate as to lose a toe, yet few cures were effected 
without the loss of the nail and cuticle, in which the vital power was inva 
riably destroyed. The exfoliation of these dead parts was always slow, and 
often attended with small ulcerations at the extremity of the toe. The com- 
paratively languid action which is always going on in the feet, owing to their 
dependent situation, and their remoteness from the centre of circulation, is 
much increased by the rigour of so severe a climate, and also by the state of 
inactivity in which it is necessary to keep the patient ; so that these trifling 
sores were found to heal with extreme difficulty. Occasional neglio-ence and 
irregularities in the patients also served at times to protract the cure. It may 
further be observed, that the ulcerations alluded to seldom took place, even 
in some of the more severe cases, when circumstances would allow of timely 
attention being paid to them." 

On the 8th, at noon, and for half an hour after, an appearance presented Tues.8. 
itself in the heavens, which we had not before observed. A thin fleecy 
cloud of a pale-red colour, and shaped like part of an arch, commenced 
pretty strongly from the top of the land in the N.W., and ran more and more 
faintly to N.b.W., beyond which it could no longer be traced : it was here 
fifteen degrees above the northern horizon. On looking for a continuation of it 
in the opposite quarter of the heavens, we perceived a larger portion of another 
and fainter arch, of pale, red, or orange, commencing at the horizon in the 



14^ VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. E.b.N., and extending to 60° of altitude in the N.N.E., so as evidently not 
s,^^^ to form a part of the western arch. Captain Sabine afterwards observed 
the whole phenomenon to alter its position, the leg of the eastern arch 
shifting considerably more to the southward. In the evening the Aurora 
Borealis was seen, forming a confused and irregular arch of white light, con- 
tinually varying in brightness, about 8° high in the centre, and extending 
from S.b.E., round by the west, to N.N.W. From the upper part of this arch, 
coruscations occasionally shot upwards, and a few streamers now and then 
burst forth also from the horizon in the S.S.E. ; these latter went nearly up 
to the zenith, while the rest were more faint, and did not reach so high. 
I am confident, that Aldebaran and the Pleiades were very sensibly dimmed 
by the most vivid of the coruscations, which appeared, in this respect, 
not to differ from any thin vapour or cloud floating in the atmosphere. 
The gold leaf of the electrometer, as well as the magnetic needle suspended 
in the observatory, was carefully attended to, but neither of them suf- 
fered any sensible disturbance. 
Wed. 9. . Early on the following morning, the wind increased from the N.N.W., and 
continued to blow a strong breeze from that quarter, with a heavy snow-drift, 
Thur, 10. till towards noon, on the 10th. At a quarter past six P.M., on that day, the 
Aurora began to appear in the south and S.W., in detached, and not very 
brilliant pencils of rays darting upwards from near the horizon. Soon after, 
an arch of the usual broken and irregular kind appeared in the western 
quarter of the heavens, extending from N.W. to south, and being from 5° 
to 8° high in the centre. From the upper part of the arch proceeded a few 
faint coruscations reaching to no great height. At a quarter before seven, 
a second and better-defined arch crossed over from S.E. to N.W.b.N., 
passing on the northern side of the zenith, from which it was distant from 
10° to 15° in the centre. This arch was very narrow, and seemed to be 
formed of two parts, each shooting with great rapidity from those parts where 
the legs stood, and joining in the centre. In a short time this second arch en- 
tirely disappeared, and the first became less brilliant. The phenomenon 
was then for some minutes confined to some bright pencils of rays in the 
south and S.S.E. , which were generally parallel to each other, but sometimes 
also diverged at an angle of about 15°. At a quarter past seven, two long 
and narrow streams of light crossed over at 35° to 40° of altitude, on the 
western side of the zenith, from the N.W.b.N., and south points of the 
horizon ; their upper e^rids did not quite meet in the centre, so as to complete 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 143 

an arch, but inclined to the shape of shepherds' crooks, as described on I820. 
the 15th of January, and often remarked by former observers ; but they .^J^ 
were neither so brilliant nor so well-defined as when we saw them before. 
About a quarter before eight, as we were returning on board from the 
observatory, the low arch to the westward first described, and which 
had never altogether disappeared, increased considerably in brilliancy. 
It was still, however, so irregular as to appear in detached roundish 
clouds or blotches, from which the pencils, which shot upwards, appeared 
immediately to proceed. These pencils, which were infinitely varied 
both in length and breadth, were observed to have also a slow, though very 
sensible lateral motion from north to south, and vice versa ; and we remarked 
on one occasion that, when two of them met, and had the appearance of over- 
lapping, they produced, for about fifteen seconds, the most intense degree 
of light we had yet seen from the Aurora. The pencils appeared generally 
to travel bodily in one direction, but sometimes to widen out in both at the 
same time. We were all decidedly of opinion, that the fixed stars were 
very perceptibly duumed by this phenomenon, which gradually disappeared 
by nine o'clock. 

It was a source of much satisfaction to find, at noon to-day, that the sun, Frid. U. 
even with one degree of meridian altitude, had some power to affect the 
mercury in the thermometer, which rose from —40° to —35° when exposed to 
its rays ; and, as the sun gradually declined, it fell again to —40° in an 
hour or two. 

The distance at which sounds were heard in the open air, during the 
continuance of intense cold, was so great as constantly to aftbrd matter of 
surprise to us, notwithstanding the frequency with which we had occasion to 
remark it. We have, for instance, often heard people distinctly conversing, 
in a common tone of voice, at the distance of a mile ; and to-day I heard a man 
singing to himself as he walked along the beach, at even a greater distance 
than this. Another circumstance also occurred to-day, which may perhaps 
be considered worthy of notice. Lieutenant Beechey, and Messrs. Beverly 
and Fisher, in the course of a walk which led them to a part of the harbour, 
about two miles directly to leeward of the ships, were surprised by suddenly 
perceiving a smell of smoke, so strong as even to impede their breathing, till, 
by walking on a little farther, they got rid of it. This circumstance shews to 
what a distance the smoke from the ships was carried horizontally, owing 
to the difficulty with which it rises at a very low temperature of the at- 



144 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. mosphere. The appearance which had often been taken for the loom of 
v^^-v-sl/ distant and much refracted land in the south and S.b.E., was again seen 
to-day, having the same abrupt termination at tlie latter bearing as before. 
At half-past eight P.M., the Aurora Borealis made its appearance for a short 
time, in an arch, very irregular, but at times very bright, from S.W. to S.S.E., 
at 4° or 5° above the horizon in the centre. 
Sat. 12. It may perhaps be attributed to the long absence of the sun which we 
had lately experienced, and which may have disqualified us from forming a 
correct judgment, that we considered the orange and lake tints with which 
the sky was painted about this period, for two hours before and after noon, 
to be more rich and beautiful than any thing of the kind we had ever before 
seen. The few fleecy clouds which at any time make their appearance in 
the heavens during the winter-months of this climate, had to-day, as before 
observed on the Sth, a tendency to form arches both in the northern and 
southern quarters, extending from east to west, at 10° of altitude in the north, 
and 5° or 6° in the south. A thermometer placed in the sun at noon rose 
quickly from —42° to — 30|° on board, the temperature of the atmosphere at 
the house being 45°, and the weather calm and clear. 

Sun. 13. At three A.M., on the 13th, on a light breeze springing up from the 
southward, the thermometer was observed to rise immediately from —40° to 
— 37°. For a short time before and after noon, a parhelion was seen at the 
angular distance of 22° 30' on each side of the sun, at the same altitude 
Avith the latter ; these parhelia were of a confused shape, but strongly pris- 
matic. There was at the same time, also, a column of bright yellow light 
proceeding from the sun to the horizon, of the same diameter as that 
object. 

Mod. 14. I have before remarked, that, in consequence of a comparatively wann at- 
mosphere which was always floating around the ships, the thermometer on 
board, by which the temperature was noted every two hours, usually stood 
from 2° to 5° higher than that fixed on shore, in consequence of which cir- 
cumstance, the whole of the temperatures, in our Meteorological Journals, 
may be taken at least 2° or 3° lower than those actually registered, except in 
a few instances, which are there expressly noticed. The temperature of the 
atmosphere having now fallen below the usual standard, it became interest- 
ing to watch this difference more minutely, and at six A.M., on the 14th, the 
thermometer at the house was at —52°, that on board being at —48°, at 
which time the smoke from the funnels rose very freely, with the mercury 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 145 

in the barometer standing at 29.53 inches. This additional decrease in the 1820. 
temperature of the atmosphere caused a repetition of that cracking of the v.*-v^ 
ship's timbers which had before occurred, but which had ceased for some time 
past. At noon the thermometer in the shade rose one degree, and at two 
P.M., fell again to -52°. 

Two of the Hecla's marines having been guilty of drunkenness the pre- 
ceding night, an offence which, under any circumstances, it was my duty to 
prevent, but which, if permitted to pass unnoticed, might, in our present 
situation, have been attended with the most serious consequences to our 
health as well as our discipline, I was under the necessity of punishing them 
this morning with thirty-six lashes each ; being the first occasion on which I 
had considered it necessary to inflict corporal punishment during thirteen 
months that the Hecla had been in commission, a fact which I have much 
satisfaction in recording, as extremely creditable to her crew. 

From four P.M. on the 14-th, till half-past seven on the following morning, Tues. i5. 
being an interval of fifteen hours and a half, during which time the weather 
was clear and nearly calm, a thermometer fixed on a pole, between the ships 
and the shore, never rose above —54°, and was once during that interval, 
namely, at six in the morning, as low as —55°. This low temperature might, 
perhaps, have continued much longer, but for a light breeze which sprung 
up from the northward, immediately on which the thermometer rose to —49°, 
and continued still to rise during the day, till at midnight it had reached 
— 34°. During the lowest temperature above mentioned, which was the most 
intense degree of cold, marked by the spirit thermometer, during our stay in 
Winter Harbour, not the slightest inconvenience was suffered from exposure 
to the open air, by a person well clothed, as long as the weather was per- 
fectly calm ; but, in walking against a very light air of wind, a smarting 
sensation was experienced all over the face, accompanied by a pain in the 
middle of the forehead, which soon became rather severe. We amused our- 
selves in freezing some mercury during the continuance of this cold weather, 
and, by beating it out on an anvil, previously reduced to the temperature of 
the atmosphere ; it didi not appear to be very malleable when in this state, 
usually breaking after two or three blows from the hammer. 

The increased length of the day, and the cheering presence of the sun for 
several hours above the horizon, induced me, notwithstanding the severity of 
the weather, to open the dead-lights of my stern-windows, in order to admit 
the day-light, of which, in our occupations below, we had entirely been 

u 



14fi VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. deprived for more than four months. I had soon, however, occasion to find 
Febr. 

that this change was rather premature, and that I had not rightly calculated 



on the length of the winter in Melville Island. The Hecla was fitted with 
double windows in her stern, the interval between the two sashes being 
about two feet ; and within these some curtains of baize had been nailed 
close, in the early part of the winter. On endeavouring now to remove the 
curtains, they were found to be so strongly cemented to the windows by the 
frozen vapour collected between them, that it was necessary to cut them off, 
in order to open the windows ; and from the space between the double sashes 
we removed more than twelve large buckets full of ice, or frozen vapour, 
which had accumulated in the same manner. 

Wed. 16. About noon, on the 16th, a parhelion faintly prismatic, appeared on each 
side of the sun, continuing only for half an hour. Notwithstanding the low 
temperature of the external atmosphere, the officers contrived to act, as usual, 
the play announced for this evening ; but, it must be confessed that it was 
almost too cold for either the actors or the audience to enjoy it, especially 
for those of the former who undertook to appear in female dresses. We were 
fortunate, however, in having the weather moderate as to wind, during our 
performance ; for, on its freshening up soon after to a strong gale from the 
N.W., which, together with a heavy snow-drift, continued the whole of the 

Thur. 17. following day, the thermometer did not rise higher than —36°; a change 
that made the Hecla colder in every part below than she had ever been 
before. The temperature of the lower deck now fell to + 34° for the greater 
part of the day, that of the coal-hole to + 15°, of the spirit-room to -I- 23°, and 
of my cabin, as low as +7° during the night, by which the chronometers, 
Nos. 25 and 369, of Arnold were stopped. Much as I regretted this cir- 
cumstance, it was impossible to prevent it without such an increase in 
the quantity of fuel as our resources, when calculating upon the chances of 
spending another winter in these regions, would by no means admit. 
Captain Sabine and myself, therefore, agreed, that it was better to let 
these watches remain down, during the continuance of the severe cold, which 
was accordingly done. 

The intense cold now experienced on board the Hecla, seems to have 
arisen principally from my having prematurely uncovered the stern win- 
dows, which I had been induced to do, not less from the impatience which 
I felt to enjoy the cheering rays of the sun for eight hours of the 
day, than on account of the saving of candles, the expenditure of which 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 147 

had hitherto been much greater than we could well afford. In the constant 
hope that each succeeding day would produce some amendment in the 
weather, we endeavoured contentedly to put up with the cold, which, how- 
ever, continued to be so intense in the cabin for several weeks after this, 
that it was impossible to sit there without being warmly wrapped up ; and 
it was not uncommon for us, at this period, to reverse the usual order of 
things, by throwing off our great coats when we went on deck to warm our- 
selves by exercise (the only mode we had of doing so), and immediately re- 
suming them on coming below. On many of these occasions I have seen a 
thermometer placed at our feet, standing the whole day under -t- 19°, and 
sometimes lower, while another, suspended in the upper part of the cabin 
would, at the same time, indicate 32° or 34°, but seldom higher than this. We 
had, about this time, two cases of lumbago and one of diarrhoea added to 
the sick list, which Mr. Edwards considered to have been brought on by the 
coldness of the decks below ; in one of these cases, some scorbutic symptoms 
subsequently appeared, which yielded without much difficulty to the usual 
remedies. Mr. Scallon had, before this time, completely recovered. The 
bed-places continuing very troublesome, from the accumulation of ice in 
them, several of the men were ordered to sleep in hammocks, which are 
much more warm and comfortable ; but they had been so long accustomed to 
the bed-plaCes, that there was, in this respect, a good deal of prejudice to 
overcome among them. 

At half-past ten P.M. on the 19th, the Aurora Borealis was seen, as Sat. 19, 
described by Lieutenant Beechey, " in bright coruscations, shooting prin- 
cipally from the S.b.W. quarter across the zenith to N.N.E., and partially 
in every part of the heavens. The light, when most vivid, was of a pale 
yellow, at other times white, excepting to the southward, in which direction 
a dull red tinge was now and then perceptible. The coruscations had a 
tremulous waving motion, and most of them were crooked towards the E.N.E. 
The fresh gale which blew at the time from the N.N.E., appeared to have 
no effect on the Aurora, which, as before observed, streamed directly to 
windward, and this with great velocity. The brighter part of this meteor 
dimmed whatever stars it passed over, even those of the first magnitude ; 
and those of the second and third magnitude, so much as to render them 
scarcely visible. The wind blew too strong for the electrometer to be used, 
but Kater's compass was not in the slightest degree affected. The whole of 
the phenomenon disappeared in about three quarters of an hour." 



14.8 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

jg2o On the 22d, the weather was fine and clear, and though the thermometer 
Febr. continued from — 34° to — 36° in the shade, and only rose to — 23|° in the 

Tues. 22. sun at two P.M., the walking was unusually pleasant to our feelings. With 
our present temperature, the breath of a person, at a little distance, looked 
exactly like the smoke of a musket just fired, and that of a party of men 
employed upon the ice to-day resembled a thick white cloud. 

Thur. 24. The weather was still fine and clear overhead on the 24th, but there being 
a moderate breeze from the northward which raised a little snow-drift, with 
the thennometer from — 43° to — 44° during the day, it was very severe in 
the open air. At a quarter past ten, while the men were running round the 
decks for exercise, and were on that account fortunately well-clothed, the 
house on shore was discovered to be on fire. All the officers, and men of 
both ships, instantly ran up to extinguish it ; and having, by great exertion, 
pulled ofi' the roof with ropes, and knocked down a part of the sides, so as 
to allow snow to be thrown upon the flames, we succeeded in getting it 
under, after three quarters of an hour, and fortunately before the fire had 
reached that end of the house where the two clocks, together with the transit, 
and other valuable instruments, were standing in their cases. Having removed 
these, and covered the ruins with snow, to prevent any remains of fire from 
breaking out again, we returned on board till more temperate weather should 
enable us to dig out the rest of the things, among which nothing of any 
material consequence was subsequently found to have suflfered injury ; and, 
having mustered the ships' companies to see that they had put on dry clothes 
before going to dinner, they were employed during the rest of the day in 
drying those which had been wet. The appearance which our faces pre- 
sented at the fire was a curious one, almost every nose and cheek having 
become quite white with frost-bites in five minutes after being exposed to the 
weather; so that it was deemed necessary for the medical gentlemen, together 
with some others appointed to assist them, to go constantly round, while the 
men were working at the fire, and to rub with snow the parts affected, in 
order to restore animation. Notwithstanding this precaution, which, how- 
ever, saved many frost-bites, we had an addition of no less than sixteen 
men to the sick-lists of both ships in consequence of this accident. Among 
these there were four or five cases which kept the patients confined for 
several weeks ; but John Smith, of the artillery, who was Captain Sabine's 
servant, and who, together with Serjeant Martin, happened to be in the house 
at the time the fire broke out, was unfortunate enough to suffer much more 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 149 

severely. In their anxiety to save the dipping-needle, which was standing i820. 
close to the stove, and of which they knew the value, they immediately ran ^'^'""• 
out with it ; and Smith, not having time to put on his gloves, had his fingers 
in half an hour so benumbed, and the animation so completely suspended, that 
on his being taken on board by Mr. Edwards, and having his hands plunged, 
into a basin of cold water, the surface of the water was immediately frozen 
by the intense cold thus suddenly communicated to it ; and, notwithstanding 
the most humane and unremitting attention paid to them by the medical gen- 
tlemen, it was found necessary, some time after, to resort to the amputation 
of a part of four fingers on one hand and three on the other. 



ABSTRACT of the METEOROLOGICAL JOURNAL kept on board His Majesty's Ship Hecla, 








during th 


e Month oi February, 1820. 


Day 


Temperature of Air 
in shade. 


Barometer. 


Prevailing Winds. 


Prerailing Weather. 


Maxi- 


Mini- 
mum. 


Mean. 


Maxi- 


Mini. 


Mean. 


1 


-f7 


-2% 


- 20.87 


inclies. 
29.88 


inclies. 
29.82 


inches. 
29.850 


S.b.E. 


Light breezes and hazy. 


2 


27 


38 


31.75 


29.92 


29.88 


29.902 


S.E. 


Ditto ditto. 


3 


35 


44 


39.58 


30.01 


29.92 


29.963 


Round the Compass. 


Ditto and fine clear weather. 


4 


37 


44.5 


39.96 


30.02 


29.97 


30.005 


N.N.W. 


Light airs to fresh breezes. 


5 


20 


37 


29.12 


29.89 


29.75 


29.817 


N.N.W. 


Moderate and hazy. 


6 


18 


23 


20.71 


29.69 


29.64 


29.602 


W.b.N. 


Light breezes and hazy. 


7 


20 


30 


24.62 


29.75 


29.75 


29.750 


W.N.W. 


Light breezes and fine. 


8 


27 


32 


28.92 


29.81 


29.75 


29.785 


Bound the compass. 


Light airs and fine. 


9 


23 


28 


25.83 


29.68 


29.57 


29.612 


North. 


Fresh breezes and hazy with drift. 


10 


26 


40 


31.62 


29.64 


29.50 


29.565 


North. 


Strong breezes— P.M. moderate. 


11 


38 


42 


39.77 


29.70 


29.47 


29.605 


N.N.W. 


Light airs and fine clear weather. 


12 


39 


44 


42.00 


29.34 


29.32 


29.330 


Calm. 


Fine clear weather. 


13 


37 


46.5 


41.58 


29.15 


29.32 


29.388 


North to E.S.E. 


Light airs and hazy. 


14 


38 


48 


40.33 


29.69 


29.53 


29.627 


West 


Light winds and very fine weather. 


15 


32 


50 


40.92 


29.75 


29.69 


29.720 


North. 


Ditto ditto. 


16 


29 


36 


32.33 


30.02 


29.75 


29.887 


N.N.W. 


Ditto and hazy weather. 


17 


26 


39 


33.42 


30.08 


30.04 


30.053 


N.N.W. 


Fresh gales and heavy drift. 


18 


21 


28 


26.25 


29.96 


29.87 


29.920 


N.N.W. 


Ditto ditto. 


19 


19 


24 


21.04 


29.77 


29.60 


29.698 


North. 


Ditto. ditto 


20 


23 


26 


24.08 


29.58 


29.53 


29.555 


North. 


Fresh breezes with drift. 


21 


25 


37 


30.25 


29.80 


29.59 


29.721 


North. 


Moderate and fine. 


22 


34 


41 


36.58 


29.93 


29.83 


29.906 


East. 


Light breezes and fine. 


23 


35 


41 


37.67 


29.93 


29.89 


29.908 


N.b.W. 


Moderate and fine. 


21 


39 


43 


40.92 


29.99 


29.91 


29.957 


N.b.W. 


Ditto. ditto 


25 


30 


38.5 


34.54 


29.82 


29.72 


29.755 


N.N.W. 


Strong breezes with heavy drift. 


26 


20 


29 


26.33 


29.72 


29.70 


29.708 


N.N.W. 


Ditto. ditto. 


27 


24 


32 


27.75 


29.73 


29.67 


29.700 


North 


Fresh breezes and fine. 


28 


25 


32 


29.08 


29.97 


29.75 


29.872 


North to W.b.S. 


Ditto ditto. 


29 


27 


37 


29.07 


30.15 


30.02 


30.100 


N.N.W. 


Moderate and fine clear weather. 


-17 


50 


- 32.19 


30.15 


29.32 


29.769 


Remark.— The mini 
from the ships, was -5 
registered on board, aris 
On the 14th and 15th o 
above— 50O for seventee 


mum temperatnre for February, as taken at a distance 
5°, tlie dilference between this and the temperature 
ng from the warm atmosphere produced by the fires, 
f February, a thermometer upon the ice did not rise 
jx successive hours. 



151 



CHAPTER VII. 



MORE TEMPERATE WEATHER — HOUSE RE-BUILT — QUANTITY OF ICE COL- 
LECTED ON THE HECLa's LOWER DECK — METEOROLOGICAL PHENOMENAL- 
CONCLUSION OF THEATRICAL ENTERTAINMENTS INCREASED SICKNESS 

ON BOARD THE GRIPER CLOTHES FIRST DRIED IN THE OPEN AIR 

REMARKABLE HALOS AND PARHELIA — SNOW BLINDNESS — CUTTING THE 
ICE ROUND THE SHIPS, AND OTHER OCCURRENCES TO THE CLOSE OF 
MAY. 

JjEFORE sun-rise, on the morning of the 1st of March, Lieutenant Beechey j^^rdi 
remarked so much bright red light near the south-eastern horizon, that he ^^^~^ 
constantly thought the sun was rising, nearly half an hour before it actually 
appeared ; there was a column of light above the sun, similar to those which 
we had before seen. The day being clear and moderate, a party of men was 
employed in digging out the things which were buried in the ruins ; the 
clocks were removed on board for examination, and preparations were made 
to rebuild the house for their reception. Some of our gentlemen who walked 
to the south-west during the day, observed the snow, in certain parts which 
were exposed to the sun, to be glazed, so as to be very slippery, as if 
a partial thaw had taken place. It is, perhaps, requisite to have expe- 
rienced the anxiety with which we were now beginning to look for some 
favourable change in the temperature of the atmosphere, to conceive the 
eagerness with which this information was received, and the importance 
attached to it in our minds, as the first faint indication of the dissolution of 
the winter's snow. In the evening the wind freshened from the southward, 
and before midnight had increased to a strong gale, which is very unusual 
from that quarter. 
The thermometer rose very gradually with the wind which blew strong for Thurs. 2. 



152 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. several hours during the night, but entirely died away between eight and 
v^^^ nine A.M. on the 2d. At nine o'clock a parhelion appeared on each side of 
the sun, at the angular distance of 21° 3 ', that on the eastern side being bright 
and prismatic, the other indistinct at first, but becoming as clear as the other 
as the sun rose higher. They were not seen after ten o'clock until half past 
one P.M., when they re-appeared for a short time, at the distance of 22°. 
About two P.M. a very thick kind of haze, or fog, came on, which obscured 
objects at a mile's distance, and at times much nearer. By us, who anxiously 
caught at any thing which could be construed into a favourable indication, 
this fog was hailed with pleasure, as a symptom of returning moisture in 
the atmosphere. 
Sat. 4. On the 4th there were more clouds in the atmosphere, and they were harder 
and better defined about the edges, than they had been before during the 
winter: a thermometer in the shade seemed now also to be more affected by the 
general influence of the sun's rays upon the atmosphere, rising from — 30° to 

- 24° at noon. At half past eleven A.M. a halo appeared round the sun, at 
the distance of 22°. 17 from it, consisting of a circle nearly complete, and 
strongly prismatic. Three parhelia, or mock suns, were distinctly seen upon 
this circle ; the first being directly over the sun, and one on each side of it, 
at its own altitude. The prismatic tints were much more brilliant in the 
parhelia than in any other part of the circle ; but red, yellow, and blue, were 
the only colours which could be traced, the first of these being invariably 
next the sun in all the phenomena of this kind which came under our observa- 
tion. From the sun itself several rays of white light, continuous but not very 
brilliant, extended in various directions beyond the halo, and these rays were 
more bright after they had passed through the circle, than they were in the 
part within it: this phenomenon continued for nearly two hours. The 
Aurora Borealis was seen faintly near the S.S.W. horizon, for three or four 
hours before midnight. 

Sun, 5. The 5th of March was the most mild and pleasant day we had experienced 
for several weeks, a light breeze springing up from the southward and east- 
ward, having raised the thermometer gradually from — 26° at four A.M., to 

— 15° at noon : and, after divine service had been performed, almost all the 

• officers and men in both ships were glad to take advantage of it, by enjoying I 
a long walk upon the neighbouring hills. The weather had been hazy, with'] 
light snow and some clouds in the morning; but the latter gradually dis- 
persed after noon, aflbrding us the first day to which we could attach the ideaj 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 153 

of spring. As soon as the clouds had allowed the sun to come out, a parhelion 1820. 
appeared on each side of it at the same altitude ; that to tlie westward, which \J:^ 
Avas seen on a thick dark cloud, being bright and prismatic ; the other, ap- 
pearing on the blue sky, being scarcely perceptible. A ray of bright yellow 
light extended horizontally about 3° or 4° on each side of the parhelia, and 
also a stripe of prismatic colours from each of them to the horizon. Both these 
were probably parts of the circles which are frequently seen to accompany 
these phenomena, and at the intersection of which the parhelia usually 
appear. 

On the 6th, at eight A.M., the thermometer had got up to zero, being the Mon. 6. 
first time we had registered so high a temperature since the 17th of the pre- 
ceding December. The wind veered gradually from S.S.E., round by west, to 
north, and at night was remarkably variable and squally, frequently changing, 
almost instantly, from north to west, and vice versa ; sometimes being so light 
as not to extinguish a naked candle at the gangway, and at others blowing a 
strong breeze. Squalls of this kind we had not observed before, nor did they 
occur on any other occasion ; we could not perceive any alteration in the 
thermometer while they lasted. 

We continued to enjoy the same temperate and enlivening weather on Tues. 7. 
the 7th, and now began to flatter ourselves in earnest, that the season had 
taken that favourable change for which we had so long been looking Avith 
extreme anxiety and impatience. This hope was much strengthened by a 
circumstance which occurred to day, and Avhich, trifling as it would have ap- 
peared in any other situation than ours, was to us a matter of no small interest 
and satisfaction. This was no other than the thawing of a small quantity of 
snoAV in a favourable situation upon the black paint work of the ship's stern, 
which exactly faced the south, being the first time that such an event had oc- 
curred for more than five months. The thermometer at this time stood at 
-f- 35° in the sun, but no appearance of thawing took place, except in the 
situation described, and even there, upon the yellow paint the snoAV re^ 
mained as hard as before. We could perceive, from the top of the north' 
eastern hill of the harbour, from which we had the most extensive vicAv 
to the south and east, that a line of hummocks had been thrown up to 
a considerable height upon the ice, at the distance of six or seven miles from 
the land, and in a direction nearly parallel to it. It Avas here probably that 
the junction of the old and " young" floes had taken place in the autumn, the 
space betAveen the line of hummocks and the land being occupied by the ice 

5 



^4 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. which this winter had produced, and by the breaking up or dissolution of 

^.J^!^ which we could alone hope to proceed on our voyage. 

Advantage was taken of the present mild and pleasant weather, to rebuild the 
house on shore, which was completed in a few days, when the clocks were re- 
placed in it, in readiness for Captain Sabine to begin his experiments on the 
pendulum, whenever the season would permit. The observations which we had 
been enabled to make during the winter were principally confined to lunar dis- 
tances, and to the altitudes of stars for deducing the apparent time. It was 
our earnest desire to have obtained a series of observations on the zenith 
distances of certain stars, in order to determine the amount of atmospherical 
refraction in these latitudes during the winter season. The only instrument 
in our possession, however, which was adapted to this purpose was the re- 
peating circle, of which we were unfortunately precluded the use by a number 
of ^circumstances not previously anticipated, and which indeed could not 
easily have occurred to the minds of those accustomed only to make obser- 
vations in more temperate climates. A particular account of these difficulties 
being given in another place by Captain Sabine, whose unremitted attention 
was for some time devoted to the means of overcoming them, I shall only here 
mention genemlly, that the principal of them arose from the unequal con- 
traction of the brass and iron, and from the freezing of the oil, by which the 
instrument was so set fast as to make it impossible to turn it in azimuth ; also, 
from the extreme contraction of the spirits, leaving no bubble by which the 
level could be read. With respect to the experiments on the pendulum, it 
was on every account considered advisable to wait for the return of spring, 
rather than to attempt observations requiring such minuteness, and so uniform 
a temperature, at a time when the very touch of instruments was painful, 
and when no observation could be made in the open air, without carefully 
holding the breath. 

Wed. 8. The severe weather which, until the last two or three days, we had expe- 
rienced for a length of time, had been the means of keeping in a solid state 
all the vapour which had accumulated and frozen upon the ships' sides on the 
lower deck. As long as it continued in this state, it did not prove a source 
of annoyance, especially as it had no communication with the bed-places. 
On the contrary, indeed, I had imagined, whether justly or otherwise I 
know not, that a lining of this kind rather did good than harm, by preventing 
the escape of a certain portion of the warmth through the ships' sides. The 
late mildness of the weather, however, having caused a thaw to take place 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 155 

below, it now became necessary immediately to scrape off the coating of ice ; 
and it will, perhaps, be scarcely credited that we this day removed above one 
hundred buckets full, each containing from five to six gallons, being the 
accumulation which had taken place in an interval of less than four weeks. 
It may be observed, that this vapour must principally have been produced 
from the men's breath, and from the steam of their victuals during meals, that 
from the coppers being effectually carried on deck by the screen which I have 
before mentioned. 

James Richardson, a seaman of the Hecla, one of the inen who had 
been attacked by lumbago a short time before, now evinced some symptoms 
of scurvy, and was, therefore, immediately put on the anti-scorbutic diet. 
About this time, also, John Ludlow, boatswain's-mate of the Griper, and 
William Wright, seaman of the Hecla, were attacked in a similar manner ; and 
these two cases subsequently proved the worst of this nature on board the ships. 
Immediately on the appearance of any complaint among the men, and especially 
when the symptoms were in the slightest degree scorbutic, the patients were 
removed to the sick-bay, where the bed-places were larger land more conve- 
nient, and where a separate stove was fixed when necessary, so as to make it 
a warm and comfortable place, apart from the rest of the ships' company. 

From ten till eleven A.M. this day, a halo and three parhelia were seen 
about the sun, in every respect similar to those described on the 4th. About 
one P.M., there being a fresh breeze from the northward, with some snow- 
drift, the parhelia re-appeared, being mucii; more bright and prismatic than 
in the forenoon, and accompanied by the usual halo, which was nearly com- 
plete, and whose radius measured 22|°. The parhelia a, a, in the annexed 
figure, on each side of the sun, were at times so bright as to be painful to 
the eye in looking steadfastly at them. When they were brightest, the light 
was nearly white, and this generally occurred when the wind was most mo- 
derate, and when there was consequently less snow-drift. When, on the 
other hand, the wind and drift increased, they became of a deeper tint, but the 
red and a pale yellow were the only distinguishable colours, the former being 
as usual, next the sun. These parhelia were much better resemblances of the 
sun than any we had seen before, being smaller, more compact and circular, 
and better defined about their edges, than usual, approaching, in every respect, 
nearer to that appearance of the sun's disk, which has obtained for them the 
name of mock-suns. The parhelion b, over the sun was never very bright, and 
the circle of the halo was but faintly tinged with the prismatic colours. Part 



156 



1820. 
March. 



VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 



of a horizontal circle of pale white light passed through the sun's disk, and 
across the two lower parhelia, being much more bright without than within 
them. By looking at the sun through a coloured glass, a column of light was 
seen under it, as often observed before. The brightness of the whole phe- 
nomenon varied every instant, on account of the snoAV-drift. 




When this phenomenon had continued about an hour and a half, we per- 
ceived a segment of another circle above the first, and inverted with regard to 
it, as at c, its centre being somewhere near the zenith. The distance from the 
sun to c was about 54°, as nearly as the indistinctness of the latter would 
allow of its being measured. The whole disappeared in two hours and a half 
from its commencement, during which time, the thermometer was from — 16° 
to — 20°, and the weather fine and clear over head. From nine P.M., till 
midnight, the Aurora Borealis appeared faintly in the horizon to the south, 
occasionally streaming towards the zenith in coruscations of pale white light. 
Thurs.9 . On the 9th, it blew a hard gale from the northward and westward, raising 
a snow-drift which made the day almost as inclement as in the midst of winter. 
The wind very suddenly ceased in the evening, and while the atmosphere 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 157 

near the ships was so serene and undisturbed that the smoke rose quite per- 1820. 

. . March 

pendicularly, we saw the snow-drift on the hills at one or two miles' distance -^^r*-- 
whirled up into the air, in columns several hundred feet high, and carried 
along by the wind, sometimes to the north, and at others in the opposite di- 
rection. The snow, thus raised, at times resembled water-spouts, but more 
frequently appeared like smoke issuing from the tops of the hills, and, as 
such, was at first represented to me. 

On the 12th, Lieutenant Liddon reported another of his seamen to be Sun. 12. 
affected with scurvy, making two in each ship labouring, more or less, under 
this disease ; Mr. Scallon also complained again a little, of feeling, according 
to his own account, " as if tired with walking ;" by attention, however, to the 
warmth and dryness of his clothing, he gradually recovered his former 
strength as the season advanced. 

It blew a strong breeze from the N.b.W., with a heavy snow-drift, on theTues. 14. 
12th, which continued, with little intermission, till near noon on the 14th ; af- 
fording us a convincing proof that the hopes with which we had flattered our- 
selves of the speedy return of spring were not yet to be accomplished. During 
this time the thermometer had once more fallen as low as — 28°, a change 
which, after the late mild weather, we felt much in the same manner as we 
should have done any of those alterations which occur in a more temperate 
climate, at a higher part of the scale. I have before had occasion to observe 
that this remark is equally applicable to all the changes we experienced in the 
course of the winter, either from cold to warm, or the contrary. 

At one P.M., on the 14th, the weather being nearly calm, and the ther- 
mometer at + 33° in the sun, there was a second partial melting of the snow 
upon the ships' stern. Immediately on the springing up of a light breeze, 
however, the thermometer in the sun fell to + 11°, and at half-past two was 
at + 6°, the temperature of the air in the shade remaining steadily from — 16° 
to — 17°. At five P.M., a parhelion was observed on each side of the sun, 
at its own altitude, and distant from it 22° 10', Avith a part of the usual 
horizontal circle, extending 2° or 3° from the outer edge of each parhelion. 

On the 16th, there being little wind, the weather was again pleasant and Thur. IG. 
comfortable, though the thermometer remained very low. While it continued 
nearly calm, we observed the following differences in the temperature of the 
air in the shade and in the sun ; the latter, were however, noted by a ther- 
mometer placed under the ship's stern, which situation was a warm one, for 
the reasons before assigned. 



15S VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 



A.M. 9 . 


. SHADE 


- 24° . 


SUN + 24° 


» 10 , 




-23° . 


. . +27° 


11 . 




- 22° . 


. . + 281' 


Noon . 


.^ 


- 21° . 


. . +29° 


P.M. 3 . 




- 13° . 


. . + 19°. 



^*?This evening, the officers performed the farces of the Citizen and the 
Mayor of Garratt, being the last of our theatrical amusements for this winter, 
the season having now arrived when there would no longer be a want of oc- 
cupation for the men, and when it became necessary also to remove a part of 
the roofing to admit light to the officers' cabins. Our poets were again set to 
work on this occasion, and an appropriate address was this evening spoken 
on the closing of the North Georgia Theatre, than which we may, without 
vanity, be permitted to say, none had ever done more real service to the com- 
munity for whose benefit it was intended. 
Moil. 20. Two of the Hecla's seamen, who were employed on shore in digging 
stones for ballast, reported on the 23th, that they had seen a glaucous gull, 
or one of that species known to sailors by the name of *' burgomaster." On 
being questioned respecting this bird, they strongly insisted on the impos- 
sibility of their having mistaken its kind, having been vnthin twenty yards 
of it. As, however, these gulls cannot well subsist without open water, of 
which there was certainly none in the neighbourhood at that period, we con- 
jectured that it might have been an owl ; a bird that may, perhaps, remain on the 
island, even during the whole winter, as the abundance of mice fMws Hudsonius,) 
of which we constantly saw the tracks upon the snow, would furnish them with 
an ample supply of food. It was a novelty to us, however, to see any living animal 
in this desolate spot ; for even the wolves and foxes, our occasional visitors 
during the winter, had almost entirely deserted us for several weeks past. 

The sick report of the Griper this day contained no less than ten cases, of 
which four were scorbutic, while the number of sick, or rather of conva- 
lescent, on board the Hecla, did not amount to half that number. On in- 
quiring into the probable cause of this extraordinary proportion of sick on 
board the Griper, which, just at this period, when their services began to be 
necessary to our re-equipment, was likely to prove of serious importance, I 
found, from Lieutenant Liddon, that the beams and bed-places on the Griper's 
lower-deck had lately been in so damp a state, in consequence of the con- 
densation of the vapour upon them, and in spite of every endeavour to pre- 
vent it, that there could be little doubt of the cause to which the present 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 159 

unhealthiness of the crew was to be chiefly attributed. I, therefore, directed a '^"-'^; 
survey to be held by the three medical officers, and a report to be made of ^^-^^^^ 
their opinions, as to the expediency of altogether removing the bed-places, or 
of adopting any other means of obviating the evil in question. These gen- 
tlemen were of opinion that the extreme dampness was " occasioned by 
the necessary proximity of the bed-places to the vessels' sides, and the 
smailness of the lower-deck, in consequence of which the vapours formed 
were deposited in so great abundance, particularly during meal-times, that 
the heat of the fires was inadequate to remove the evil, before the cause was 
again renewed." They therefore recommended taking down the bed-places, 
in order to admit a more free ventilation, as well as a more equal distribution 
of the warmth, and that hammocks should be substituted in their place ; an 
alteration which was immediately adopted. While on this subject, which 
is so intimately connected with the health of seamen in the Arctic Regions 
it may be proper for me to remark that, although the bed-places, which were 
fitted on board the Hecla and Griper, give a neat and comfortable appearance 
to the lower-deck, and are in reality a great convenience to the men in many 
respects, yet that our winter's experience plainly shews them to be so 
favourable to the accumulation of dampness or ice within them, that there 
can remain little doubt of their unfitness for this service ; and, I believe, 
that hammocks will be found warmer, and in every respect more comfortable 
to the men, than any other kind of sleeping-place that could be adopted. To 
the officers* cabins, which are necessarily closer to the ship's side, the same 
remark applies still more strongly ; and with this difference only, that, on 
account of the want of length, cots must be used instead of hammocks. The 
advantage of thus removing from the ship's side was remarkably proved in the 
case of Lieutenant Liddon, whose state of health was so bad during the 
winter, that we at one time entertained very serious apprehensions respecting 
him. It was proposed, therefore, about the end of February, that he should sleep 
in a cot, at some distance from the side ; and, from that period, his recovery 
was so rapid and so decided, that in a few weeks he was enabled to walk out 
every fine day in the open air for exercise, with the thermometer at twenty 
degrees below zero, and without the slightest degree of inconvenience. 

On the 23d, we found, by digging a hole in the ice, in the middle of the har- Tluu.23. 
hour, where the depth of water was four fathoms and a quarter, that its thickness 
was six feet and a half, and the snow on the surface of it eight inches deep. 
This may be considered a fair specimen of the average formation of ice in this 



160 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

neighbourhood since the middle of the preceding September ; and as the 
freezing process did not stop for more than six weeks after this, the produce 
of the whole winter may, perhaps, be reasonably taken at seven, or seven 
and a half feet. In chopping this ice with an axe, the men found it very 
hard and brittle till they arrived within a foot of the lower surface, where it 
became soft and spongy. 
Sat. 25, j\t noon, on the 25th, two thermometers stood 

in the shade at —25°, and in the sun at +30° 
at 1 P.M. - -22°, +17° 

2 - - - -22°, +25° 

3 - - - -22°, +21° 

the thermometer in the sun being placed at a distance from the ship, and the 
weather very calm and fine. The length of the day had now so much increased. 

Sun. 26. that at midnight on the 26th, there was a very sensible twilight in the northern 
quarter of the heavens ; and such was the rapidity with which this part of the 
season appeared to us to have come round, that we could, with difficulty, 
picture to ourselves the total darkness from which we had so lately emerged. 

Tues. 28. On the 28th, Lieutenant Beechey reported, on his return from a walk over 
the hills to the westward, that he had seen, even more plainly than before, 
that refracted appearance in the southern horizon, which bore a strong 
resemblance to distant land in that direction ; and, what is most worthy of 
notice, still seeming to terminate abruptly about a S.b.E. bearing from Winter 
Harbour. The thermometer was at this time at - 20°, and the mercury in the 
barometer standing at 30.22 inches. 
April. On one of the fine days in the early part of March, in taking a longer walk 
than usual on the north side of the harbour, we accidentally met with a small 
flat stone, on which the letter P was plainly engraved. As there seemed 
little doubt that this had been artificially done, and as, since our arrival in 
Winter Harbour, the weather had been too cold to induce any of our people 
to sit down on the ground for the purpose of exercising their talent in this 
way, we were entirely at a loss to conjecture how it came there, and various 
amusing speculations were I'esorted to, in order to account for it. Since 
that time, the weather had not permitted our sending for it till this day, 
when it was brought on board ; and on inquiry among the men, we found 
that Peter Fisher, a seaman belonging to the Griper, who was one of the 
party under Mr. Fife, respecting whom we had felt so much anxiety in the 
preceding September, had, on that occasion, amused himself by begia- 



ABSTRACT of the METEOROLOGICAL JOURNAL kept on board His Majesty's Ship Hecla, 
during the Month o{ March, 1820. 



Day 



Temperature of Air 
in shade. 



Prevailing Winds. 



Prevailinsr Weather. 



-17 
-26 
-24 

- 9 
+ 2.5 
+ 2 
-16 

- 3 
+ 1 
+ 6 
-19 
-10 
-12 
-10 

13 



-12 

- 8 
-17 
-18 

22 

21 

19 

-16 

-17 

-12 

- 3 



-40 
-33 
-37 
-33 
-26 



-14 
-14 
-11 

-29 
-27 
-24 
-23 
-26 
-24 
-16 
-18 
-18 
-24 
-22 
-26 
-27 
-30 
-29 
-33 
-29 
-28 



- 31.33 
-25.00 
-31.33 
-27.92 

- 16.50 

- 2.50 

- 6.17 

- 18.35 

- 8.58 

- 4.96 

- 2.25 

- 24.00 

- 22.71 

- 17.83 

- 16.25 
-21.79 
- 17.58 

- 8.88 
-13.75 
-11.88 
-15.63 
-13.75 

22.42 
-21.50 
-26.71 
-25.50 
-26.17 
-24.17 
-23.88 
-20.29 

- U.50 



+ -40 - 18.10 ' 30.26 29.00 29.803 



inches. 
30.16 


inches. 
29.S0 


29.63 


29.52 


29.68 


29.55 


29.62 


29.50 


29.41 


29.30 


29.12 


29.00 


29.27 


29.03 


30.15 


29.32 


30.13 


29.88 


29.78 


29.62 


29.03 


29.30 


29.96 


29.62 



29.97 
29.83 
29.76 
29.88 
29.87 
29.99 
30.00 
29.89 
29.78 
29.88 
30.05 
30.06 
29.94 
30.14 
30.19 
30.26 
30.19 
30.25 
30.18 



29.82 
29.62 
29.50 
29.76 
29.83 
29.78 
29.91 
29.75 
29.63 
29.72 
29.91 
29.95 
29.92 
29.93 
30.03 
30.19 
30.14 
30.14 
29.89 



29.570 

29.625 

29.575 

29.378 

29.050 

29.172 

29.762 

29.980 

29.695 

29.478 

29.822 

29.905 

29.757 

29.600 

29.828 

29.857 

29.882 

29.965 

29.805 

29.697 

29.780 

29.997 

29.995 

29.927 

30.005 

30.132 

30.227 

30.165 

30.212 

30.003 



South. 

South, round by 
West, to North 

North 

N.N.W. 



f s.s.E. ; 

I variable. ) 
N.W. 

North 

West. 
Round the compass 

West. 

N.b.W. 

N.b.W. 

North 

North 

N.N.W. 

N.b.W. 

North 

North 

North. 
5 N.b.E. 1 

(, North. J 

North. 
North 

North 
( N.W. J 

t North 5 

North 

North 

N.N.W. 
N.N.W. 
North 
N.W. 



Light airs and fine dear weather. 
Fresh breezes and hazy with drift. 
Strong breezes : much drift. 
Fresh gales to light airs. 
Light airs and cloudy — small snow. 
Moderate with small snow. 

Ditto ditto. 

Fresh breezes with drift. 
Strong breezes and hazy — P.M. moderate. 
Variable, from calm to strong breezes. 
Fresh breezes and hazy with drift. 
Ditto ditto. 

Ditto ditto. 

Ditto ditto. 

Ditto ditto. 

Light airs and fine. 
Strong breezes with much drift. 
Fresh gales vrith heavy drift. 
Moderate and clear. 
Light airs with small snow 
Light airs and hazy. 
Fresh breezes and hazy with drift. 
Light airs and fine. 
Ditto ditto. 

Ditto ditto 

Light to strong breezes. 
Light airs to snow. 
Light breezes and fine. 
Ditto ditto. 

Ditto ditto. 

Ditto and hazy 



162 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. ning to scratch upon the stone in question, the initials of his name*. This 
^^t^^ circumstance is only worthy of notice, from its proving to how considerable 
a distance this party had rambled, and how completely they were in error as 
to the direction in which they had been travelling ; the distance between the 
two places being twenty-five miles. I was in hopes, also, of finding out by 
this means, the situation of a large lake which Mr. Fife reported having seen, 
and from which he brought a small fish, of the trout kind ; but the more I 
questioned him and his party, the more I was convinced of the little depend- 
ance to be placed on the account of persons circumstanced as they were, 
and of their utter ignorance as to the part of the island in which the lake was 
to be found. 

In the evening, a parhelion was seen on each side of the sun, and a 
third above it, as usual, at the angular distance of 22° 20', the two first being 
strongly marked by the prismatic colours, and the other very indistinctly. 

Early on the morning of the 3d, we observed an effect of refraction very 
common in seas having much ice. It consists in the images of hummocks of 
ice, reflected and inverted somewhat in this manner, t* i 





7 




in which case, from the apparent shape of these images, the ice is technically 
said to " tree." This appearance is considered by the Greenland sailors, as 
an indication of clear water in the direction in which it is seen, which was 
certainly not the case this morning. 
Wed. 5. At nine A.M., on the 5th, the weather being very fine, and the thermometer 
at —18°, we observed a halo round the sun, which was at times nearly 
complete. There was, as usual, a parhelion on each side of the sun, at the 
same altitude, and distinctly prismatic. There was also a third parhelion 

* When Mr. Fife and his party returned from that excursion, it was a matter of surprise 
to us, to see how fresh Fisher was, and how little he seemed to regard what had happened, 
as any thing out of the common way, of which, indeed, the circumstance just related, is 
also a proof. When asked, on his first arrival on board on that occasion, what they had 
lived upon, " Lived upon," said Fisher, dryly, " the Duke of WeUington never hved so 
well. We had grouse for breakfast, grouse for dinner, and grouse for supper, to be 
sure !" 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 163 

in that part of the circle immediately above the sun, and this had a peculiarity 1820. 
attending it which we had never before observed. Although the weather .^^^^^ 
was remarkably fine and clear, the atmosphere was full of innumerable 
minute spiculce of snow glittering in the sun, which we had never before seen 
on a bright sun-shiny day, though we had constant occasion to remark such 
a deposit, at times when the weather could by no means be called hazy, 
and when the heavenly bodies were distinctly visible. The parhelion above 
the sun appeared to be evidently formed by the reflection of the sun's rays 
to the eye, by an infinite number of these spiculae, commencing close to 
the observer, and continuing so as to be easily distinguishable for at least 
one or two hundred yards from the eye. This parhelion might at times be 
easily seen to consist of the intersection, or rather the touching, of two 
circles turning opposite ways, of which the plainest was generally the upper 
one, or that which had its convex side downwards. At about 22° above 
the parhelion, being nearly the same distance that the latter was above the 
sun, a streak of glittering spicule was permanently seen in a horizontal 
direction ; but there Avas so little of it, that it was difficult to say of 
what regular figure it formed a part. This phenomenon continued above 
an hour. 

Being extremely anxious to get rid, as early as possible, of the drying of 
our washed clothes upon the lower deck, I had to-day a silk handkerchief 
washed, and hung up under the stern, in order to try the effect of the 
sun's rays upon it. In four hours it became thoroughly dry, the thermo- 
meter in the shade, being from — 18° to — G°, at the time. This was the 
first article that had been dried without artificial heat for six months, and 
it was yet another month before flannel could be dried in the open air. When 
this is considered, as well as that during the same period, the airing of the 
bedding, the drying of the bed-places, and the ventilation of the inhabited 
parts of the ship, were wholly dependent on the same means, and this with a 
very limited supply of fuel, it may, perhaps, be conceived in some degree, 
what unremitting attention was necessary to the preservation of health, under 
circumstances so unfavourable and even prejudicial. 

At midnight, on the 7th, there was light enough to read the thermometer 
with great ease. On the 8th, the weather was serene and clear ; the southern Sat. 8. 
horizon being much raised by refraction, and presenting very strongly the 
same appearance of land which had so often before been observed in that 
quarter. A few thin white clouds which were floating in the atmosphere 



164 



VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 



to-day, had much of that tendency to arch, which has before been described 
on one or two occasions. Two distinct arches were thus formed this mornino- 
one in the northern, the other in the southern hemisphere of the heavens, 
their altitude in the centre being from 20° to 45°, and joining at each end in 
the E.N.E. and W.S.W, points of the horizon. 
Sun. 9. Prom half-past six till eight A.M., on the 9th, a halq, with parhelia, was 
observed about the sun, similar in every respect to those described on the 
5th, Atone P.M. these phenomena re-appeared, together with several others 
of the same nature, which, with Captain Sabine's assistance, I have endea- 
voured to delineate in the annexed figure. 




..^t 




s, the sun, its altitude being about 23°. h,h, the horizon. 

t, II, a complete horizontal circle of white light passing through the sun. 

a, a very bright and dazzling parhelion, not prismatic. 

b, c, prismatic parhelia at the intersection of a circle a, b, d, c, whose radius 
was 22|° with the horizontal circle t, u. 

X, d, V, an arch of an inverted circle, having its centre apparently about 
the zenith. This arch was very strongly tinted with the prismatic colours. 

k, e, I. an arch apparently elliptical rather than circular, e being distant 
from .the sun 26° ; the part included between x and v was prismatic, the rest 
white. The space included between the two prismatic arches, x e v d was 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 1G5 

made extremely brilliant by the reflection of the sun's rays, from innume- 
rable minute spiculae of snow floating in the atmosphere. 

qfr, a circle having a radius from the sun, of 45°, strongly prismatic about 
the points/ q r, and faintly so all round. 

m n, a small arch of an inverted circle, strongly prismatic, and having its 
centre apparently in the zenith. 

r p, q 0, arches of large circles, very strongly prismatic, which could only 
be traced to p and o ; but on that part of the horizontal circle t u, which M'as 
directly opposite to the sun, there appeared a confused white light, which had 
occasionally the appearance of being caused by the intersection of large arches 
coinciding with a prolongation of r p, and q o. 

The above phenomenon continued during the greater part of the afternoon ; 
but at six P.M., the distance between i and e increased considerably, and 
what before appeared an arch, x, d, v, now assumed the appearance given in 
fig. 12, plate 287, of Brewster's Encyclopedia, resembling horns, and so 
described in the article " Halo" of that work. At 90° from the sun, on 
each side of it, and at an altitude of 30° to 50°, there now appeared also a 
very faint arch of white light, which sometimes seemed to form a part of 
the circles q o, r p; and sometimes we thought they turned the opposite 
way. In the outer large circle, we now observed two opposite and corre- 
sponding spots y, y, more strongly prismatic than the rest, and the inverted 
arch m,f, n, was now much longer than before, and resembled a beautiful 
rainbow. 

The protracted length of the winter began now to make us more than usually Thuil.' 
impatient, and to create in us reasonable apprehensions lest our escape from 
Winter Harbour should unavoidably be postponed to a period too late for the 
accomplishment of those sanguine hopes, with which the last year's success 
had induced us to flatter ourselves. The extraordinary degree of cold which 
continued day after day was such as we had certainly not anticipated ; and 
when, at this period, with the sun above the horizon for seventeen hours 
out of the four and twenty, the thermometer was still occasionally falling as 
low as — 31°, which it did at four this morning, it must be confessed that 
our fiiture prospects of advancement began to wear a very unpromising 
aspect. It may be imagined, also, with what anxiety we watched for the 
first appearance of a thaw, both on shore and upon the ice round the ships, 
in neither of which had any such appearances yet become perceptible, except 
that here and there, where the snow happened to lie very thin upon the 



166 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. ground, allowing the sun's rays to penetrate to the earth, a sufficient degree 
v^^^ of heat had been radiated partially to thaw the snow, forming it into a thin 
transparent cake, like a plate of glass. Indeed, the cloudless sky, and the 
uniformly Avhite surface of sea and land which characterize the climate of 
Melville Island at this period, are ill calculated to impart warmth to the 
atmosphere ; and it Avas not till the clouds became gradually more dense 
and frequent, and the earth, had, by slow degrees, become uncovered in parts, 
so as to admit the absorption and radiation of heat, that the dissolution of the 
snow could go on to any considerable extent. 

Sun. 16. In the afternoon of the 16th, the weather being clear and nearly calm, 
Mr. Hooper and myself observed a colouring in some light fleecy clouds, which 
formed one of the most beautiful phenomena that I had ever seen. These clouds, 
which were small and white, and almost the only ones in the heavens, assumed, 
as they approached and passed under the sun, the most soft and exquisite 
tints of light lake, bluish green, and yellow about their edges, that can pos- 
sibly be imagined. These tints appeared only when the clouds were within 
15° or 20° of the sun, were brightest as they passed under it, which they did 
as close as 2°, and began to be again indistinct at 10° from it. Some of the 
clouds remained coloured in this way for upwards of a quarter of an hour; 
there did not seem to be any regular arrangement of tints, as in the prismatic 
spectrum, but the lake was always next the sun. 

It was a source of extreme satisfaction to me to find that the health of both 
ships' companies were daily improving as the season advanced ; so that by 
the middle of April the Griper's sick list was reduced to four, all of whom 
were convalescent ; and on board the Hecla, Mr. Edwards had but a single 
patient, William Scott, boatswain's-mate, who first complained of pneumonia 
about this time, and whose case subsequently assumed a more dangerous 
character. 

On the 19th and 20th, the thermometer kept up nearly to zero, in conse- 
quence of the wind blowing from the E.S.E., and continual snow, of which 

Fiid. 21. we remarked, when walking on shore on the 21st, that as much had fallen in 
the last two days as during the whole of the winter. The spiculae were also 
much less minute than before, though the snow could not as yet be said to fall 
in flakes. 

Tues.25. The wind, which had blown fresh from the eastward for several hours, 
moderated at half past two A.M. on the 25th, and the thermometer fell from 
-h 4° to — 1° at four o'clock. As the wind freshened again, the thermometer 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 



167 



once more rose, and by eight A.M. stood at + 10°. On the two following 1820. 
days Captain Sabine made some observations on the difference in the tern- ...^^^ 
perature of the atmosphere in the sun, and in the shade ; which shew the ^®'^" ^^* 
effect of the sun's rays much more correctly than those made on board, as it 
is almost impossible to prevent the thermometer from being affected by the 
radiation of heat from the ship. " Two posts having been fixed in the snow, 
at a short distance apart, and connected by a line passing through the 
shadow cast, by the observatory, about the middle of the day, two mercurial 
thermometers, being an exact pair, and having their bulbs unprotected, were 
suspended from the line, one being exposed to the sun, and the other in the 
shade of the observatory ; the bulbs of both were six or eight inches from 
the snow." 





h. m. 


SUN. 


SHADE. 




April 26. 


1 30 P.M. 


+ 17 ' 


+ 65) 






2 — 
2 13 


22 
23 


7 

7 


' Calm. 




2 18 


24 5 


7 6 






2 35 


20 5 


6 5 


A gentle air. 




2 50 


21 


. 6 7 






6 — 


9 5 


4 5 




April 27. 


11 20 A.M. 


15 


5 > 






11 30 


20 


7 






11 40 


34 


9 






11 45 
11 55 


23 5 

24 


8 5 
8 5 


( Almost calm. 




25 P.M. 


21 


7 






1 — 


20 


7 5 






2 20 


25 


7 7 ^ 






2 45 


10 


4 5 


A breeze spr 



The morning of the 27th being very fine, and the thermometer at + 6°, Thut. 26. 
the ship's company's bedding was hung up to air, between the fore and main 
rigging, being the first time we had ventured to bring it from the lower deck 
for nearly eight months. While it was out, the births and bed-places were 
fumigated with a composition of powder mixed with vinegar, and known '"' 
familiarly by the name oi devils ; an operation which had been regularly 
gone through once a week during the winter. 



^ 



168 VOYAGE FOU THE DISCOVERY 

1S20. This evening, and during the whole night, we experienced, for the first time 
v^,!^ this season, a fog, such as occurs in more temperate climates, and which the 
sun dispersed on the following morning ; the same thing again occurred the 
Frid. 28. next day. 

Sat. 29. At half-past two P.M. on the 29th, Mr. Edwards and myself observed the 
clouds coloured in the same beautiful and delicate manner as on the I6th ; 
except that the tints were now not so vivid, the clouds passing farther from 
the sun. A parhelion was also seen on each side of the sun horizontally ; 
both were faint and quite white. 

I have before mentioned the circumstance of our lower rigging having been 
very slack during the severity of the winter, and again become tight as the 
warmer weather came on. Even now this had taken place so effectually, that 
the rigging was full as tight as when we left the river Thames twelve 
months before. I have been the more particular in mentioning this fact, 
because the circumstance of its becoming slack by the cold is at variance with 
the accounts of other navigators*. 

For the last three or four days of April, the snow on the black cloth 
of our housing had begun to thaw a little during a few hours in the 
middle of the day, and on the 30th so rapid a change took place in the 
temperature of the atmosphere, that the thermometer stood at the freezing, 
or as it may more properly be termed in this climate, the thawing point, 
being the first time that such an event had occurred for nearly eight months, 
or since the 9th of the preceding September. This temperature was, to 
our feelings, so much like that of summer, that I was under the necessity of 
using my authority to prevent the men from making such an alteration in their 
clothing as might have been attended with very dangerous consequences. By 
the annexed Abstract of the Hecla's Meteorological Journal for April, it will 
be seen how rapid was the change of temperature during this month, the ther- 
mometer having ranged from - 32° to -+- 32° in the course of twenty days. 
There was, at this period, more snow upon the ground than at any other time 
of the year, the average depth on the lower parts of the land being four or 
five inches, but much less upon the hills ; while in the ravines a very large 

* " On the morning of the 5th, (November,) it was discovered that almost all the shrouds 
on the starboard side of the ship were broken, which happened from contraction and 
tenseness, caused by frost." — Account of Bering's Voyage, A. D. 1741, Burney's North- 
Eastern Voyages of Discovery, p. 171. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 169 

quantity had been collected. The snow at this time became so soft, from 1820. 
the influence of the sun upon it, as to make walking very laborious and ,^^^ 
unpleasant. 

This rapid change in the temperature of the atmosphere again revived our 
hopes of a speedy departure from Melville Island; and such were the sanguine 
expectations which animated us at this period, that I believe there was not an 
officer or man, on board either of the ships, who had not made up his mind to 
the probability of our leaving Winter Harbour by the middle or latter part of 
June. 

The fine and temperate weather with which the month of April had c6n- May. 
eluded, induced Captain Sabine to set the clocks going, in order to commence 
his observations for the pendulum, and he now took up his quarters entirely ^^°^- ' 
on shore for that purpose. On the first of May, however, it blew a strong 
gale from the northward, which made it impossible to keep up the desired 
temperature in the house ; and so heavy was the snow-drift, that in a few 
hours the house was nearly covered, and we were obliged to communicate 
with Captain Sabine and his attendants through a small window, from which 
the snow was, with much labour, cleared away, the door being quite inac- 
cessible. We saw the sun at midnight for the first time this season. 

The gale and snow-drift continued on the following day, when we had Tues. 2. 
literally to dig out the sentries, who attended the fire at the house, in order 
to have them relieved. I feel it right to mention these circumstances, that 
the difficulties with which Captain Sabine had to contend, may be duly ap- 
preciated in the making of observations that require, even under every 
favourable circumstance of weather and climate, no ordinary share of skill 
and attention. 

The day being moderate and fine on the 3d, we perceived that the late Wed. 3. 
gale had almost entirely uncovered the higher parts of the land, the snow 
being blown into the ravines and hollows. We remarked, in the forenoon, 
that the clouds had a tendency to form two distinct arches across the heavens 
from N.N.E. to S.S.W., joining at the horizon, but separating gradually on 
each side of the zenith, to the distance of 8° or 10° from each other. At ten 
P. M. a parhelion was seen on each side of the sun, at the usual distance, and 
slightly tinged with the prismatic colours. 



ABSTRACT of the METEOROLOGICAL JOURNAL kept on board His Majesty's Ship Hecla, 


during the Month of AprU, 1820. 


Day 


Temperature of Air 
in shade. 


Barometer. 


Prevailing Winds. 


Prevailing Weather. 


Maxi- 


Mini- 


Mean. 


MaxL 
mum. 


Mini. 


Mean. 






o 


inches 


incties 


inclies. 






1 


- 


-16 


— 6.33 ! 


30.02 


30.01 


30.013 


N.W. 


Light breezes and cloudy : snow. 


2 


— 2 


—25 


— 8.37 i 


30.02 


29.89 


29.955 


Round the compass. 


Light and variable with snow. 


3 


-9 


—26 


—18.71 


29.81 


29.79 


29.798 


North. 


Light airs and fine. 


4 


— 8 


—26 


—14.75 ' 


29.86 


29.83 


29.843 


North. 


Ditto ditto. 


5 


— 6 


-24.5 


—16.62 1 


30.00 


28.86 


21.908 


W.N.W. 


Ditto ditto. 


6 


—15 


—25 


—18.75 


30.01 


29.96 


29.983 


NJSI.W. 


Fresh breezes with drift. 


7 


-13 


—26 


—21.00 


30.00 


29.89 


29.940 


N.W. 


Moderate and fine. 


8 


— B 


-29 


—20.46 


29.87 


29.84 


29.855 


North. 


Light airs and fine. 


9 


—14 


—30 


—21.85 


29.88 


29.83 


29.850 


S.E. 


Ditto ditto. 


10 


—12 


—32 


—22.96 


29.80 


29.70 


29.730 


North. 


Ditto ditto. 


11 


—12 


—27 


—19.67 


29.68 


29.57 


29.620 


North. 


Ditto ditto. 


12 


—11 


—29 


—20.00 


29.64 


29.52 


29.565 


North. 


Ditto ditto. 


13 


-15 


-31 


—22.92 


29.85 


29.67 


29.768 


N.byW. to South. 


Ditto ditto. 


14 


—14 


—29 


—19.37 


29.95 


28.89 


29.932 


N.N.E. to S.S.E. 


Ditto ditto. 


15 


+ 6 


—17 


— 7.33 


29.72 


29.40 


29.543 


E.S.E. 


From fresh to light breezes. 


16 


— 5 


—19 


—12.33 


29.90 


29.57 


29.770 


N.N.W. 


Light breezes and clear. 


17 


— 5 


-21 


—13.62 


30.26 


29.94 


30.127 


Round the compass. 


Ditto ditto. 


18 


— 1 


—15 


— 8.17 


30.32 


30.23 


30.288 


Calm. 


Clear weather. 


19 


+ 2 


—13 


— 4.00 


30.23 


29.92 


30.052 


E.S.E. 


Light airs and fine. 


20 


+ 4 


— 9 


— 2.21 


29.78 


29.67 


29.697 


East. 


Fresh breezes : snow and drift. 


21 


+ 3 


-10 


- 3.17 


29.96 


29.70 


29.837 


N.N.W. 


Moderate and fine. ' 


22 





-12 


- 4.63 


30.00 


29.97 


29.987 


North. 


Fresh breezes and hazy. 


23 


+ 13 


— 5 


+ 4,00 


29.89 


29.63 


29.756 


.N.N.E. 


Fresh breezes with drift. 


24 


+ 14 


+ 4 


+ 10.42 


29.71 


29.67 


29.692 


East. 


Fresh breezes with snow and drift. 


23 


+ 14 


— 7 ■ 


+ 4.88 


30.20 


29.70 


29.970 


EasttoS.S.W. 


Moderate with snow and drift. 


26 


+ 11 


—12 


— 1.17 


30.55 


30.25 


30.380 


North. 


Light airs and fine weather. 


27 


+ 9 


—12 


+ 0.08, 


30.86 


30.66 


30.803 


North to S.E. 


Ditto ditto. 


28 


+ 15 


— 5 


+ 4.83 


30.79 


30.46 


30.607 


Round the compass. 


Ditto ditto. 


29 


+ 22 


+ 3 


+ 12.75 


30.66 


30.43 


30.555 


North. 


Light airs vrith snow. 


30 


+ 32 


+ 6 


+ 30.28 


30.67 


30.34 


30.505 


N.W. 


Ditto ditto 


+ 32 


-32 


— 8.37 


30.86 


29.40 


29.978 



VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. ,171 

Being desirous of making some observations on the height and time of the 1820. 
tides, I directed a hole to be cut through the ice under the ship's stern, and ^J^ 
a pole, graduated in the upper part to feet and inches, dropped through it, Thurs. 4. 
and securely moored by a heavy weight to the bottom. Our observations 
commenced this afternoon, and the height indicated by the pole was regis- 
tered every hour in the Hecla's log-book. An abstract of the Tide-table, 
together with such remarks as I have been enabled to make on this subject, 
will be given hereafter. The snow which we had in the autumn banked up 
against the ships' sides was now cleared away, in readiness for cutting the ice 
round them, an operation which I was anxious to perform previously to our 
making any alterations in the quantity or distribution of the weight in our 
holds, lest the ships should receive any injury from doing so, in their present 
confined situation. It is of course not easy to judge in what degree the 
banking up of the snow had been serviceable in retaining the warmth within 
the ships, but there can be little doubt that it produced a considerable effect 
in this way, as well perhaps as in lessening, in some measure, the thickness 
of the ice which formed around them. 

On the 5th Mr. Edwards reported that Mr. Crawford, the Greenland mate, F"<1- 5- 
who had, for several days past, been complaining of pains which appeared to 
be rheumatic, shewed some symptoms of the scurvy, which made it necessary 
to resort to the antiscorbutic diet. It is worthy of notice, that Mr. Crawford 
was one of the most clean, temperate, and cheerful men in the expe- 
dition, and, as such, was one of the least likely to be thus affected. The 
washed clothes of the ships' company were this day dried entirely in the 
open air. 

On the 6th, the thermometer rose no higher than + 81° during the day ; Sat. 6. 
but, as the wind was moderate, and it was high tiriie to endeavour to get 
the ships once more fairly afloat, we commenced the operation of cutting 
the ice about them. In order to prevent the men suffering from wet and 
cold feet, a pair of strong boots and boot-stockings were on this occasion 
served to each, being part of a complete suit of warm clothing, with which I 
had been supplied for the purpose of issuing them to the ship's companies 
gratis, whenever I should see occasion. As the sun became low towards 
midnight, the usual parhelia appeared about this luminary. 

At half-past nine A.M., on the 10th, Lieutenant Beechey observed a halo Wed. 10. 
round the sun, consisting of a complete circle, and an arch of another, 
touching the first in the part immediately above the sun, and having its 

Z2 ■ 

■- I !' ,1 

^—— ——"—"—— —>——««_ ■ - ■'■ I I i l n il, . . .| f 



m 



VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 



1820. 
May. 



centre apparently from 40° to 50° from that object. There were two parhelia 
faintly prismatic as usual, but about 3° without the circle. 



O 




O 



Frid, 



This phenomenon was remarkable, on account of the parhelia not being 
situated upon the halo, as was usually the case. It now occurred to me, 
that on the preceding day, when the same phenomenon had been faintly 
seen Mr. Nias, whom I directed to measure the angular distance between 
the parhelia and the sun, had reported it to be 24° 40', the radius of the 
halo being 22J^° as usual. This I considered to have been an unavoidable 
error in the measurement of an ill-defined object ; but, on repeating it, his 
first report was found to be correct. On the present occasion. Lieutenant 
Beechey saw it for so short a time as not to allow him to measure the 

distance. 

The expedition having, at its departure from England, been victualled for 
no more than two years, of which one had now expired, I considered it 
expedient, as a matter of precaution, to reduce the daily alloAvance of all the 
kinds of provision to two-thirds of the established proportion, which re- 
gulation accordingly took place from this day. The cheerfulness with which 
this reduction was received by both officers and men,-was to me an additional 
and hio-hly-gratifying proof of that firm and zealous principle of duty by 
which their conduct was at all times regulated. 
12 On the 12th, one of the men, employed in digging turf on shore, reported 
that he had seen a ptarmigan, an event which, trifling as it was, created 
no small degree of interest among us, who had now been deprived of fresh 
meat for nearly six months ; it was also hailed as a sure omen of returning 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 173 

summer. This was further confirmed by Mr. Beverly having on the 13th l82o 
killed a male ptarmigan, and by another being seen on the following day, as .^.-^ 
well as the first tracks of rein-deer and musk-oxen, which indicated their 
route to be directly to the northward. The time of the return of these 
animals to Melville Island, from the continent, is thus satisfactorily ascer- 
tained; and it was suggested by Captain Sabine, as a circumstance worthy 
of remark, that the period of their migration had occurred with the first fine 
weather Avhich took place after the commencement of constant day-light. 
In examining the seeds and small buds contained in the maw of the bird killed 
by Mr. Beverly, they were found to consist entirely of the native plants of the 
island, and principally those of the dwarf-willow, so that the bird had perhaps 
arrived a day or two before that time. On the 15th, two or three coveys 
of ptarmigan were seen, after which they became more and more numerous, 
and a brace or two were almost daily procured for the sick, for whose use 
they were exclusively reserved. As it was of the utmost importance, under 
our present circumstances, that every ounce of game which we might thus 
procure, should be served in lieu of the other meat, I now renewed the 
orders formerly given, and which afterwards obtained among us the name 
of " game-laws," that every animal killed was to be considered as public 
property ; and, as such, to be regularly issued like any other kind of pro- 
vision, without the slightest distinction between the messes of the officers 
and those of the ships' companies. 

Some of our men, having, in the course of their shooting excursions, been 
exposed for several hours to the glare of the sun and snow, returned at 
night, much affected with that painful inflammation in the eyes, occasioned 
by the reflection of intense light from the snow, aided by the warmth of 
the sun, and called in America, " snow-blindness." This complaint, of 
which the sensation exactly resembles that produced by large particles of 
sand or dust in the eyes, is cured by some tribes of American Indians, by 
holding them over the steam of warm water ; but we found a cooling wash, 
made of a small quantity of acetate of lead mixed with cold water, more 
efficacious in relieving the irritation, which was always done in three or 
four days, even in the most severe cases, provided the eyes were carefully 
guarded from the light. As a preventive of this complaint, a piece of black 
crape was given to each man, to be worn as a kind of short veil attached to 
the hat, which we found to be very serviceable ; a still more convenient 
mode, adopted by some of the officers, was found equally efficacious ; this 



fT4i VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY. 

1820. consisted in taking the glasses out of a pair of spectacles, and substituting 
^Ij black or green crape, the glass having been found to heat the eyes, and 
increase the irritation. 

The exhalations arising from the earth were about this time observed to be 
very abundant, producing, during the daytime much of that appearance of 
waving tremulous motion in distant objects, which the French call mirage, 
and which was usually succeeded by a fog at night, as soon as the atmosphere 
had become cool. 

Tues. 16. During one of these fogs, at four A.M. on the 16th, the sky being perfectly 
clear in the zenith to 30° of altitude, whilst a dense haze rested on the land 
and ice. Captain Sabine observed " a haze-bow of distinct and dazzling light, 
having its edges softened off, and without any appearance of prismatic 
colouring. The legs of the bow rose out of a bluish haze, the colour of 
tvhich somewhat resembled that of weak starch ; not quite half a circle was 
complete ; the middle of the arch was between 22° and 23° above the land, 
which is of little elevation, and the legs were 71° apart. The weather was 
ftearly calm, and there had been a considerable deposition of frozen dew 
throughout the night. Similar phenomena were observed on the mornings of 
the 20th and 23d, about the same hour." 

Wed. 17. On the 17th, we completed the operation of cutting the ice round the 
Hecla, which was performed in the following manner: The ice alongside 
the ships was found to be six feet thick, being about eighteen inches less 
than the average thickness of it in Winter Harbour, owing principally to our 
having continued to cut it round the ships for some time after the commence- 
ment of the winter, and in part, perhaps, to the snow with which it had 
there been thickly covered. We began by digging a large hole under the 
stern, being the same as that in which the tide-pole was placed, in order to 
enter the saw, which occupied us nearly two days, only a small number of 
men being able to work at it. In the mean time, all the snow and rubbish, 
was cleared away from the ship's side, leaving only the solid ice to work j 
upon ; and a trench, two feet wide, was cut the whole length of the starboardj 
side, from the stem to the rudder, keeping within an inch or two of thej 
bends, and taking care here and there to leave a dike, to prevent the 
water which might ooze into one part from filling up the others in which! 
the men were working. In this manner was the trench cut with axes^l 
to the depth of about four feet and a half, leaving only eighteen inchesij 
for the saws to cut, except in those places where the dikes remained. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 145 

The saw being then entered in the hole under the stern, was worked 1820 
in the usual manner, being suspended by a triangle made of three spars ; ^^^^ 
one cut being made on the outer part of the trench, and a second within 
an inch or two of the bends, in order to avoid injuring the planks. A 
small portion of ice being broken off now and then by bars, handspikes, and 
ice-chisels, floated to the surface, and was hooked out by piecemeal. This 
operation was a cold and tedious one, and required nine days to complete it. 
When the workmen had this morning completed the trench Avithin ten or 
twelve feet of the stern, the ship suddenly disengaged herself from the ice to 
which she had before been firmly adhering on the larboard side, and rose in 
the water about ten inches abaft, and nearly eighteen inches forward, with a 
considerable surge. This disengagement, to which the sailors naturally 
applied the term " launching," confirmed my supposition, that the ship was 
held so fast by the ice, as to make it dangerous to alter materially the 
stowage of the holds, but in a manner the very reverse of what I had 
apprehended. This circumstance, however, on consideration, it was not 
difficult to explain. In the course of the winter, the strong eddy winds about 
the ships had formed round them a drift of snow, seven or eight feet deep in 
some parts, and, perhaps, weighing a hundred tons ; by which the ice, and 
the ships with it, were carried down much below the natural level at which 
they would otherwise have floated. In the mean time the ships had become 
considerably lighter, from the expenditure of several months' provisions ; so 
that, on both these accounts, they had naturally a tendency to rise in the 
water as soon as they were set at liberty. 

The ships being now once more fairly afloat, I directed a strict and 
careful survey to be commenced of all the provisions and stores of every 
kind remaining on board each ship, and at the same time the Griper to be 
supplied with the quantity which the Hecla had stowed for her, amounting 
nearly to the proportion of every kind for twelve months. In the mean 
time, a party of hands were occupied in breaking and weighing the stones 
for ballast, while others were getting out the sails and boats, and our car- 
penters, armourers, coopers, and sail-makers, having each their respective 
employments, our little colony now presented the most busy and bustling 
scene that can be imagined. It was found necessary to caulk every part of 
the upperworks, as well as all the decks, the seams having been so much 
opened by the frost, as to require at least one, and in many parts two 
threads of oakum, though the ship had scarcely ever laboured at all since 



176 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. she was last caulked. I also at this time laid out a small garden, planting 
y^r\^ it with radishes, onions, mustard and cress ; and a similar attempt was 
made by Lieutenant Liddon : but, notwithstanding every care and attention 
which could be paid to it, this experiment may be said to have wholly failed, 
the radishes not exceeding an inch in length by the latter end of July, and 
the other seeds being altogether thrown away. Not even a single crop of 
mustard and cress could be thus raised in the open air ; and our horticulture 
was, therefore, once more confined to my cabin, where, at the present mild 
temperature of the atmosphere, those two vegetables could be raised without 
any difficulty, and in considerable abundance. I may remark, however, that 
some common ships' peas, which were sown by our people for their amuse- 
ment, were found to thrive so well, that, had I been sooner aware of it, a 
great quantity of the leaves at least of this vegetable might have been grown, 
which, when boiled, and eaten as greens, would have been no small treat 
to persons deprived of fresh vegetable substance for more than ten months. 
It is not improbable also, that, by the assistance of glass, the want of which 
deprived us of the opportunity of making the experiment, a great deal more 
miglit have been done in this way, notwithstanding the miserable climate with 
f J -f^t'T which Ave had to contend. 

Sun. 21. About the 21st we began to perceive a daily diminution of the snow upon 
the land, the brown soil appearing in patches, where hitherto the snow had 

Mon 22. completely covered it ; and on the 22d, in the course of a walk which we 
took to the Table-hill, to the westward of the ships, we had the satisfaction 
of being able to fill a pint bottle with water from a small pool of melted snow, 
having a quantity of sand mixed with it, a circumstance which we always 
found to favour the thawing process. There cannot, perhaps, be a more 
striking proof of the extreme severity of the climate of Melville Island than 
the fact, that this was the first instance we had known of water, naturally in a 
fluid state when exposed to the atmosphere, and unassisted by artificial 
means, such as those which I have already described as having occurred in 
one or two instances under the ship's stern, since the middle of the preceding 
September, being an interval of more than eight months. The Table-hill, 
which is seen at a great distance on the coast, in coming from the eastward, 
and which forms a conspicuous object in this country where there is so little 
to vary the scene, lies at the distance of five or six miles to the westward of 
the station of the ships in Winter Harbour. It rises about a hundred feet 
above the level of the plain on which it stands, the top of it not exceeding in 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 177 

extent a quarter of an acre of ground. The surface of it consists generally 1820. 
of sand, on which are lying numerous masses of lime-stone, nearly the whole v.^^ 
of whicli, though varying in colour from white to dark brown, have a fetid 
smell when broken ; and many of the specimens contained madrepore. We 
found here also a quantity of clay iron-stone, which is common in this part of 
Melville Island, together with pieces of flint, granite, and other substances, 
which are described in the Appendix. During this excursion, too, we dis- 
overed, with pleasure, that the sorrel (Riimex digi/nus, Linn. J was extremely 
abundant in the neighbourhood of the ships, a root or two of this valuable 
antiscorbutic plant occurring in almost every tuft of moss which we met with. 
No appearance of its beginning to vegetate could yet, however, be perceived ; 
and we began to look with impatience for the sprouting of its leaves, from 
which we hoped to obtain a supply of fresh vegetable matter, of which, perhaps 
in reality, we all began to stand in need. About two hundred yards to the 
westward of this hill is another rather smaller, but very similar in appearance, 
and composed of the same mineral substances as that just described ; in 
coming from the eastward, the second hill is not seen, being hid behind 
the other. 

Having considered that an examination of the extent and productions of Tues. 23. 
the island might be conducive to the improvement of the geography and 
natural history of these regions, and the good state of health enjoyed by 
the crews, permitting a certain number of men to be spared from each 
ship during their equipment for sea, I now determined to undertake a journey 
into the interior, for this purpose, accompanied by a certain number of 
officers and men who volunteered their services on the occasion ; and the 1st 
of June was fixed for our departure. The Griper's sick-list had noAv been 
reduced to one person, whose only complaint was debility from a late attack 
of scurvy ; and William Scott, whom I have before had occasion to mention, 
was the only patient on board the Hecla. The case of this man had been 
such as, for some time past, to baffle Mr. Edwards's endeavours to produce a 
favourable change, his complaint appearing to be more mental than corporeal, 
and, therefore, one which no medicine could be expected to cure. 

Previously to my intended departure, I was occupied in measuring a 
base upon the ice across the mouth of the haibour, and in taking the 
necessary angles for the survey, which was carried to the eastward be- 
yond Fife's Harbour, principally for the purpose of connecting our obser- 
vations here with those obtained by Captain Sabine on the 6th of the pre- 



178 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. ceding September, on Avhich the correction of the longitudes observed during 
v,^ the navigation of 1819, in part depended. 

Wed. 24- Early on the morning of the 24th, Mr. Allison reported that he had felt a 
few drops of rain fall upon his face, an event which we had scarcely dared to 
anticipate so soon, but which was hailed with much satisfaction, as nothing 
appears to be so effectual as rain in producing the dissolution of the ice. The 
clouds had a watery appearance throughout the day, and at half-past eight in 
the evening, we were agreeably surprised by a smart shower of rain which was 
shortly after succeeded by several others. We had been so unaccustomed to 
see water naturally in a fluid state at all, and much less to see it fall from the 
heavens, that such an occurrence became a matter of considerable curiosity, 
and I believe every person on board hastened on deck to witness so interesting 
as well as novel a phenomenon. The rain which fell in the course of the 
evening, made several little pools upon the ice, which now remained, unfrozen 
for twelve or fourteen hours in the day, as did also the sea-water around the 
ships. Two ivory gulls (Larus Eburneus) were reported to have been seen in 
the course of this day by a party employed in cutting turf on shore. 
Sat. 27. I am now to mention an occurrence which took place at this period, and 
on which I should gladly be silent, but that it is intimately connected with 
the important subject of the health of seamen in this and in every other 
climate: It Avas reported to me, through one or two of the Hecla's petty- 
officers, that one of our seamen, whose name I am unwilling to record, and 
who had lately been cured, by the greatest care and attention, of a rather 
severe attack of the scurvy, had been in the frequent habit of eating with his 
bread a quantity of the skimmings of the water in which salt meat is boiled, 
called by tjje sailors " slush." This kind of fat or grease, which is always 
understood to be a perquisite of the cooks in His Majesty's navy, and the use 
of which is well-known to be in the highest degree productive of scurvy, had 
always been a source of considerable anxiety and apprehension to me during 
the voyage. Soon after our leaving England, when the issuing of salt-meat 
commenced, I sent for the cook of the Hecla, and in presence of the officers, 
warned him on no account ever to permit a particle of this slush to be used by 
the ship's company ; and, on condition of his faithfully complying with this 
injunction, I permitted him, under certain restrictions, to preserve it in casks, 
for his own future benefit. With these directions the cook had, I believe, 
punctually complied till the middle of the winter; when he had been gradu- 
ally led into a practice of furnishing the people occasionally with a small quan- 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. ' 179 

tity of fat to burn in their lamps ; of this, the man alluded to, had, it seems, 
taken advantage, and used it as an article of diet in the manner described. 
Being determined immediately to check so pernicious a practice, I charged 
him with his offence in presence of the officers and ship's company, pointing 
out to them, at the same time, the ingratitude with which he had repaid the 
care taken of him during his late illness. It gave me great satisfaction to find 
that the men were disposed to view this act with a degree of indignation little 
short of that which I feel it my duty to express on this occasion, some of 
them, as I found, having repeatedly spoken to him before upon the subject. 
Having, therefore, directed that the offender should be punished by wearing 
upon his back a badge, which would expose him for a time to the contempt 
and derision of his shipmates, I felt satisfied that no future instance would 
occur of an offence which might prove so fatal to the cause in which we were 
engaged. 

Early on the morning of the 29th, the wind increased tb a fresh gale from Mon. 29. 
the northward and westward, which continued during the day, with a heavy 
fall of snow and a tremendous drift that prevented our seeing to the dis- 
tance of more than twenty yards around the ships. The following day being Tues. 30. 
fine, I took my travelling party to the top of the north-east hill, in order to 
try the cart, which had been constructed for carrying the tents and baggage, 
and which appeared to answer very well. The view from this hill was not 
such as to offer much encouragement to our hopes of future advancement to 
tlie westward. The sea still presented the same unbroken and continuous 
surface of solid and impenetrable ice, and this ice could not be less than from 
six to seven feet in thickness, as wc knew it to be about the ships. When 
to this circumstance was added the consideration, that scarcely the slightest 
symptoms of thawing had yet appeared, and that in three weeks from this 
period the sun would again begin to decline to the southward, it must be 
confessed, that the most sanguine and enthusiastic among us had some reason 
to be staggered in the expectations they had formed of the complete accom- 
plishment of our enterprise. 

. JiHiiyij oj. lyya juutwyu 011 uu iimi byjiiiiw 

itau ,mirf boiiinnaq I ,ao\ioau\iii 

— -'f .ih'n^o(i snjJii'i awo siri i6i 

'\mn orft IliJ bailffnioa, ^Uauionvq 
anoigfiooo aJqosq osli ^niriyimui ^o soiiojjiq s ohii bsi -^Ilfi 



ABSTRACT of the METEOROLOGICAL JOURNAL ke 


pt on boaid His Majesty's Ship Hecla, 




during the Month of May, 


1820. 


Day 


Temperature of Air 
in shade. 


Barometer. 


Prevailing Winds. 


Prevailing Weather. 




Maxi- 


Mini- 


Mean. 


Maxi- 


Mini. 


Mean. 


1 


-fz 


°0 


o 
+ 8.58 


inches. 
30.48 


inches. 
30.31 


inches. 
30.342 


North. 


Strong gales to moderate and cloudy. 


2 


+ 11 


- 1 


6.25 


30.46 


30.39 


30.418 


North. 


Strong breezes and fine. 


3 


+ 15 


+ 2 


9.25 


30.42 


30.39 


30.403 


f North. I 
i N.W. I 


Moderate and fine. 


4 


+ 16 





7.67 


30.41 


30.38 


30.398 


N.N.W. 


Moderate and fine. 


6 


+ 20 


+ 2 


11.58. 


30.36 


30.26 


30.312 


North. 


Fresh breezes with drift. 


6 


+ 8.6 


- 2 


3.83 


30.24 


30.09 


30.155 


N.N.W. 


Strong breezes and fine. 


7 


+ 5 


- 4 


0.79 


30.05 


29.98 


30.007 


N.N.W. North. 


Moderate and fine. 


8 


+ 8 


- 2 


3.00 


29.99 


29.98 


29.982 


North. 


Fresh breezes and fine. 


9 


+ 9 


- 1 


4.67 


30.03 


29.93 


29.985 


North. 


Ditto. ditto 


10 


+ 10 


+ 1 


5.62 


30.07 


30.00 


30.027 


North. 


Ditto. ditto. 


11 


+ 10 


-1.5 


4.17 


30.14 


30.08 


30.113 


North. 


Ditto. ditto. 


12 


+ 18 


- 1 


8.62 


30.19 


30.15 


30.168 


North. 


Light breezes and cloudy. 


13 


+ 17 


- 1 


7.62 


30.34 


30.19 


30.262 


N.W. 


Ditto. ditto. 


14 


+ 17 • 


- 3 


7.50 


30.41 


30.36 


30.393 


Calm. 


Fine clear weather. 


15 


+ 19.5 


- 1 


9.42 


30.38 


30.26 


30.317 


Calm. 


Ditto. ditto. 


16 


+24 


- 2 


12.67 


30.23 


30.19 


30.200 


Cahn. 


Hazy weather. 


17 


+ 29 


+ 7 


18.50 


30.24 


^30.21 


30.228 


( North. I 
i N.W. 5 


Light breezes and hazy. 


18 


+ 24 


+ 10 


18.00 


30.31 


30.23 


30.272 


N.W. 


Light breezes and fine. 


19 


+ 25 


+ 10 


17.75 


30.27 


30.24 


30.258 


North 


Ditto ditto. 


20 


+ 25 


+ 10 


10.98 


30.20 


30.10 


30.160 


South. 


Ditto ditto. 


21 


+ 29 


+ 6 


18.83 


30.11 


29.99 


30.025 


South. 


Ditto ditto. 


22 


+ 32 


+ 12 


23.00 


30.21 


30.02 


30.102 


South. 


Ditto ditto. 


23 


+ 34 


+ 20 


27.29 


30.30 


30 00 


30.193 


North to S.S.E. 


Moderate breezes and cloudy. 


24 


+ 38 


+ 25 


32.71 


30.12 


29.75 


29.893 


E.S.E. 


Fresh breezes and cloudy. 


25 


+ 40'.5 


+ 32 


36.33 


29.99 


29.74 


29.870 


N.W. 


Moderate and cloudy. 


26 


+ 3G.5 


+ 30 


33.04 


30.20 


30.00 


30.122 


( S.S.E. bv West } 
\ to N.N.W. ] 


Light winds and fine. 


27 


+ 47 


+ S2.5 


39.17 


30.02 


29.93 


29.982 


South. 


Light breezes and cloudy. 


28 


+ 37 


+ 33 


34.96 


29.81 


29.27 


29.582 


East. 


Moderate and cloudy with rain, hail and snow. 


29 


+ 33 


+ 24 


.26.54 


29.60 


29.25 


29.403 


N.W. 


Strong gales and hea^-y drift. 


30 


+ 38 


+ 24 


31.08 


29.90 


29.71 


29.853 


N.N W, to W.N.W. 


Fresh breezes and fine. 


31 


■)3d 


+ 27 


30.92 
+16.66 


29.98 


29.89 


29.933 


N.E. 


Moderate and hazy with small snow. 


+ 47 - 4 


30.48 


29.25 


30.109 



VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. 181 



CHAPTER VIII. 



JOURNEY ACROSS MELVILLE ISLAND TO THE NORTHERN SHORE, AND RETURN 
TO THE SHIPS BY A DIFFERENT ROUTE. 



1 HE weather being favourable on the morning of the 1st of June, I made 1820. 
such arrangements as were necessary, previous to my departure on our ,^^^ 
intended journey. I directed Lieutenants Liddon and Beechey to proceed Tlmrs. 1. 
with all possible despatch in the equipment of the ships for sea, having them 
ready to sail by the end of June, in order that we might be able to take 
advantage of any favourable alteration in the state of the ice at an earlier 
period than present appearances allowed us to anticipate. 

The party selected to accompany me, out of the numerous volunteers on 
this occasion, consisted of Captain Sabine, Messrs. Fisher, Nias, and Reid, 
Serjeant M'Mahon, of the Marines, Serjeant Martin, of the Artillery, and 
three seamen and two Marines, belonging to both ships, making a total of 
twelve, including myself We were suppdicd with provisions for three weeks, 
according to the daily proportion of one pound of biscuit, two-thirds of a 
pound of Donkin's preserved meat, one ounce of salep powder, one ounce of 
sugar, and half a pint of spirits, for each man. Two tents, of the kind called 
in the army horsemen's tents, were made of blankets, with two boarding- 
pikes, fixed across at each end, and a ridge rope along the top, which, | 
with stones laid upon the foot of the blankets, made a very comfortable and I "- i 
portable shelter. These tents, with the whole of the provisions, together with 
a conjuror or cooking apparatus, and a small quantity of wood for fuel, amount- 
ing in the whole to eight hundred pounds, were carried upon, a strong but light) ~"j 



182 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

cart, constructed for the purpose ; this method having been decided on as the 
most convenient for the country in which we were about to travel. 

Each officer and man was also furnished with a blanket made into a bag, 
with a drawing string at each end, a pair of spare shoes and stockings, a 
flannel shirt, and a cap to sleep in. The clothing and blankets were carried 
on our backs in knapsacks, those of the officers weighing from seventeen to 
twenty-four pounds each, and one between every two men Aveighing twenty- 
four pounds, to be carried for half a day alternately. Mr. Dealey, with a party 
of three men, was appointed to attend us for the first day's journey, to assist 
in carrying our baggage, and then to return to the ships. It was my intention 
to proceed as directly north as possible, and if we came to the sea in that 
direction, to turn to the westward, making such a circuit in returning to 
Winter Harbour as might occupy from one to three weeks, according to cir- 
cumstances. It was proposed to travel entirely at night, if any part of the 
twenty-four hours could properly now be so called, Avhen the sun was con- 
stantly above the horizon. This plan was considered to be advantageous, both 
for the sake of sleeping during the warmth of the day, and to avoid, as much" 
as possible, the glare of the sun upon the snow while travelling. 

At five P.M., we left the ships, accompanied by a large party of officers 
and men from each, who were desirous of relieving us from the weight of our 
knapsacks for an hour or two ; and, having been cheered by the ships on our 
departure, we went round the head of the harbour, and ascended the north- 
east hill. This route was chosen on account of the ground being clear of 
snow, only on the ridges and higher parts of the land. Our companions left 
us at eight P.M., and we proceeded across a level plain almost entirely 
covered with snow, which, however, was so hard as to make the travelling 
very good ; and the cart was dragged along without difficulty. At eleven P.M., 
we came to three remarkable round hills, composed entirely of sand and 
masses of sandstone, and halted to dine close to the northward of them. 
Those parts of the land which were clear of snow, appeared to be more 
productive than those in the immediate neighbourhood of W^inter Harbour, 
the dwarf-willow, sorrel, and poppy (Papaver Nudicaule), being more abun* 
dant, and the moss more luxuriant ; we could not, however, collect a suffi- 
cient quantity of the slender wood of the Avillow in a dry state, for the pur- 
pose of dissolving snow for water, and were, therefore, obliged to use a part 
of the fuel which we had -provided for that purpose. The thermometer stood 
at 31° atmidniffht. ■suiad 3ii to idi/.. >iiiff Mty >Miiq'mo 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 183 

Having set off soon after midnight, at the distance of half a mile in aN.b.E. 1820. 
direction, we came to a piece of frozen water half a mile in length, and two v,Ji^ 
hundred yards Avide, situated on the south side of the range of hills which ^'""'- ~- 
bound the prospect from Winter Harbour. The i6e, on the surface of this 
lake or pond, was in some parts nearly dissolved, and in all too soft to 
allow us to cross it. We here saw a pair of ducks, one of which being 
white and the other brown, we supposed them to be of that species called 
king ducks (Anas Spectabilis.) We soon after came in sight of an extensive 
level space to the north-westward, upon which not a single dark spot could 
be distinguished, even with a glass, to break the uniformity of the snow 
with which it was covered, till it appeared to terminate in a range of lofty 
hills which we had occasionally seen from the southward, and which, from 
the appearance given them by their distance, we had called the Blue Hills. 
We had, for some time past, entertained an idea, from their bold and 
precipitous appearance in some parts, that water would be found at the foot 
of them ; and had we not been certain that we had now ascended three or four 
hundred feet above the level of Winter Harbour, the appearance of the plain 
before us, which resembled a branch of the sea covered with ice, would have 
confirmed us in this idea. We halted at half-past six A.M., and pitched the 
tents on the hardest ground we could find, but it became quite swampy in 
the course of the day. We killed seven ptarmigan, and saw two plovers 
(Charadrius Pluvialis), and two deer, being the first we had met with this season, 
with a fawn, so small, as to leave no doubt of its having been dropped since 
the arrival of the female upon the island. They were so wild as not to 
allow us to approach them within a quarter of a mile. The day was fine 
with light and variable airs ; the thermometer stood at 34°, in the shade, at 
seven A.M., at which time it was unfortunately broken. 

At five P.M., we struck the tents, and having detained one of Mr. Dealey's 
party to accompany us, I despatched him to the ships with the others, and 
then continued our journey to the northward, having first made the necessary 
observations for determining our position. These and the rest of our abser- 
vations for latitude and longitude, obtained during this jourrity, were made 
with a sextant and artificial horizon, and the longitudes are by the chrono- 
meter, No. 2109 of Arnold, which I carried in my pocket. t 

As we proceeded to the northward, the delusion respecting the level plain 
to the westward, began to wear off, some brown spots being here and there 
perceptible with a glass, which left no doubt of its being principally, if not 



184 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

entirely, land. Beyond this plain, however, there was a piece of bold land 
in the distance, having every appearance of an island, lying between the Blue 
Hills on the north, and some high land to the south. There was a bright and 
dazzling ice-blink over the plain of snow, and exactly corresponding with it, 
as to extent and position. 
Sat. 18. Having halted three hours to dine and rest, we again set forward at 
two A.M., on the 3d, crossing one or two ravines, running E.N.E. and 
W.S.W., in which there was a large collection of snow, but as yet no 
appearance of water in the bottom of them. Captain Sabine and myself being 
considerably a-head of the rest of the party, had sat down to wait for 
them, Avhen a fine rein-deer came trotting up, and played round us for 
a quarter of an hour, within thirty yards. We had no gun, nor do I 
know that we should have killed it, if we had, there being already as much 
weight upon the cart as the men could well drag ; and having no fuel to 
spare for cooking ; besides, we felt it would have been but an ill return for 
the confidence which he seemed willing to place in us. On hearing our people 
talking on the opposite side of the ravine, the deer immediately crossed 
over, and went directly up to them, with very little caution ; and, they 
being less scrupulous than we were, one or two shots were immediately 
fired at him, but without efiect ; on which he again crossed over to where 
we were sitting, approaching us nearer than before. As soon as we rose up 
and walked on, he accompanied us like a dog, sometimes trotting a-head 
of us, and then returning within forty or fifty yards. When we halted, at six 
A.M., to make the usual observations, he remained by us till the rest of the 
party came up, and then trotted off. The rein-deer is by no means a 
o-raceful animal ; its high shoulders and an awkward stoop in its head, giving 
it rather a deformed appearance. Our new acquaintance had no horns, 
he was of a brownish colour, with a black saddle, a broad black rim 
round the eyes, and very white about the tail. We observed that whenever 
he was about to set off, he made a sort of playful gambol, by rearing on his 
hind legs. 

The latitude observed here was 75° 06' 58", the longitude 1 10° 30' 32", and 
the variation of the magnetic needle 128° 30' 14." easterly. We had passed, 
durino- our last march, a good deal of rich soil, consisting principally of 
decayed moss and other vegetable substance mixed with sand ; and the sorrel 
and saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia) were more abundant than before. 

A fog, which had prevailed during the early part of the day, having cleared 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 185 

siway in the afternoon, we struck the tents at five P.M., and having travelled I820. 
three quarters of a mile, came to a ravine not less than a hundred feet deep. 



and in most parts nearly perpendicular. A place was at length found in which 
the cart could be got across, which we succeeded in effecting, through very 
deep snow, after an hour's labour. On the north side of this ravine large 
masses of sand-stone were lying on the surface of the ground, over which the 
cart could with difficulty be dragged ; and we remarked on this, and several 
other occasions, that the stones which were bruised by the wheels emitted a 
strong smell, like that of fetid limestone when broken, though we could never 
discover any of that substance. In some of the sand-stone we found pieces 
of coal embedded ; and some large pieces of a slaty kind of that mineral, 
which burned indifferently, were also picked up in the ravine. 

We had hitherto, as we judged, rather ascended than otherwise since 
leaving the north-east-hill of Winter Harbour, and the height of this part 
of the island may be estimated at three or four hundred feet above the level 
of the sea. At two miles and a quarter to the northward of the ravine, we 
entered upon a snowy plain, of which we could not see the termination to the 
northward. Here and there only we came to a small patch of uncovered 
land, on one of which we observed the sand and sand-stone to be tinged of a 
light brick colour. We halted to dine before midnight, having made good, 
by our account, a distance of only five miles, and that with difficulty, the snow 
being soft, which made travelling very laborious. We found here nothing but 
two small pools of dirty water, but, as it was of importance to save our wood in 
case of accidents, we went on an allowance of half a pint of this water each, 
rather than expend any of it in melting snow, a process requiring more fuel 
than perhaps those who have never made the experiment are aware of. There 
was no vegeta*'on in this place, even the poppy having now forsaken us. 

At two o'clock on the morning of the 4th we continued our journey to the Sun.4. 
northward, over the same snoAvy and level plain as before, than which it is 
impossible to conceive any thing more dreary and uninteresting. It frequently 
happened that, for an hour together, not a single spot of uncovered ground 
could be seen. The few patches of this kind forcibly reminded one of the 
description given of the oases in the deserts of Africa, not only because they 
relieved us for a time from the intense glare of the sun upon the snow, which 
was extremely oppressive to the eyes, but because it was on these alone that 
we could pitch our tents to rest, or that we could expect to meet with any 
water. The breeze freshened up to a gale from the S.S.E. as we proceeded, 



186 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. and the men, as if determined not to forget that they were sailors, set a large 
v.,^^ blanket upon the cart as a sail, which, upon the present level ground, was 
found to be of material assistance. The snow was deep, and rather soft, 
which made the travelling heavy ; and as the wind produced a good deal of 
snow-drift, most of the bare patches of ground became covered up, so that 
when our time for halting had arrived, not a piece of ground could be seen on 
which to pitch the tents. Captain Sabine and myself went forward to look 
out for a spot, and at length were fortunate to meet with one, on which there 
was just room for our little encampment. It was with some difficulty, by 
building a wall with stones and our knapsacks, that we prevented its being 
covered with snow before the party came up, which they did at half-past 
seven A.M., having travelled ten miles in a N.W.b.N. direction. We saw a 
few fox-tracks, but no animals, nor the smallest symptom of vegetation, 
during this march. It is not improbable, however, that these snowy plains, 
when uncovered by the warmth of summer, may present a more luxuriant 
vegetation than is elsewhere to be met with on this island. 

By the time we had secured the tents the wind blew hard, with a continued 
fall as well as drift of snow, so that we could not but consider ourselves for- 
tunate in having met with a spot of ground in good time. Notwithstanding 
the inclemency of the weather, we found the tents afford us very comfortable 
and sufficient shelter, the cart being tilted up to windward of them, so as to 
break in some measure the violence of the wind ; and when wrapped up, or rather 
enclosed in our blanket-bags, we were generally quite warm enough to enjoy 
the most sound and refreshing repose. I may here notice, once for all, that 
the moment the tents were pitched, however short the time for which it was 
proposed to halt, every man was directed immediately to change his shoes and 
stockings, and at the same time had his feet examined by Mr. Fisher. As it 
froze hard every night, we used only to get our things dried during the noon 
halting, so that we were always under the necessity of putting on the same 
wet boots and stockings after resting at midnight. This was the only way to 
make certain of dry stockings for sleeping in, and as we were sure to be wet 
in half an hour after starting, our putting on wet ones to walk in was of little 
consequence. I insist the more on this circumstance, because it is to our at- 
tention to these precautions that I attribute the good health we enjoyed 
during the journey. To this, indeed, we had one exception. Captain Sabine 
having suffered some uneasiness from indigestion, in consequence of having 
eaten some of the salep-powder badly mixed ; but by attention to his diet, 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 187 

together with a little medicine, the complaint was soon removed. It is scarcely 
possible perhaps to imagine the comfort which was afforded in this instance 
by the small quantity of fuel we were provided with, as it enabled us to 
furnish Captain Sabine with one or two warm messes which chiefly contri- 
buted to his recovery ; and we, therefore, determined to use no more of our 
wood except under similar circumstances. 

It continued to blow and snow till seven P.M., when the wind havino- 
veered to the S.W., and become more moderate, we struck the tents ; and 
having now placed the men's knapsacks on the cart to enable them to drag 
with greater facility, we proceeded on our journey to the northward. We 
passed a narrow but deep ravine lying across our course, in some parts of 
which the snow reached nearly to a level with the banks, forming a kind of 
bridges or causeways, on one of which we crossed without difficulty. The 
men had hoisted one sail upon the cart at first setting off; but the wind being 
now, as they expressed it " on the larboard quarter," a second blanket was 
rigged as a main-sail, to their great amusement as well as relief. 

After crossing a second ravine, on the north side of which the ground rose 
considerably, we entered upon another snowy plain, where there was nothing 
to be seen in any direction but snow and sky. To make it the more dreary, 
a thick fog came on as the night advanced, and as this prevented our taking 
any mark more than fifty or a hundred yards a-head, we had to place the 
compass, by which we were now entirely travelling, upon the ground every 
five minutes ; and as it traversed with great sluggishness, we made a 
very crooked and uncertain course. For more than two hours we did not 
pass a single spot of uncovered ground, nor even a stone projecting above 
the snow. 

The weather being at length too foggy to proceed, we sat down on our Mon. 5. 
knapsacks for a short time, and then continued our journey, the fog being 
somewhat less thick. At one A.M., we came to a few large stones sticking 
up above the snow, and as the people were a good deal fatigued, and I was 
at the same time desirous not to run the risk which might be incurred by 
suffering them to lie upon the snow, we determined to try what could be 
done in picking out the stones, one by one, and paving a spot for the tents 
over it. This plan succeeded, and after an hour's work we completed a dry, 
though hard flooring for our encampment. This being properly our dinner- 
time for the 4th of June, though our meal had been unavoidably delayed 
beyond that day, we did not forget to drink His Majesty's health in both 



188 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

tents, not aware at the time that our venerable Monarch had many months 
before paid the debt of nature. 

The fog continued too thick to allow us to move till six A.M., at which 
time we resumed our journey. There was a broad and distinct haze-bow of 
very white and dazzling light directly opposite the sun. The weather being 
still too foggy to see more than a quarter of a mile a-head, it was with con- 
siderable difficulty that we could proceed on a tolerably straight course. To 
effect this, it was necessary to determine the point on which we were walking 
by the bearing of the sun, which was still visible, and the apparent time, and then 
to take a mark a-head by which our course was to be directed. From the thick- 
ness of the weather, however, it was necessary to repeat this operation every five 
or ten minutes, which, together with the uniform whiteness and intense glare of 
the snow, became so extremely painful to the eyes, that Mr. Fisher and myself, 
who went a-head as guides, soon became affected with snow-blindness, and 
the headmost man at the cart, whose business it was constantly to watch 
our motions, began to suffer in a similar manner, and from the same cause. 
We had now also frequent occasion to experience — what had so often occurred 
to us during the winter, — the deception occasioned in judging of the magni- 
tudes, and consequently the distances of objects, by seeing them over an un. 
varied surface of snow ; this deception was now so much increased by the 
thickness of the fog, that it frequently happened that, just as we had con- 
gratulated ourselves on having pitched upon a mark at a sufficient distance 
to relieve us from the necessity of straining our eyes for a quarter of 
an hour, we suddenly came up to it ; and were obliged to search, and often 
in vain, for another mark, at no great distance, and subject to the same 
delusion. 

It may, perhaps, be conceived, then, under these circumstances, how 
pleasing Avas the relief afforded by our seeing, at eight A.M., a stripe of 
black or uncovered land a-head, which proved to be the bank of a ravine 
fifty or sixty feet deep, and three hundred yards wide, on the north side of 
which we pitched the tents, having made good only one mile and a half, 
the snow being so soft and deep as to make it difficult to drag the cart through 
it. This ravine was full of innumerable masses of sand-stone, besides which 
we could not find a single mineral substance of any other kind. By removing 
any of these, we found abundance of pure water, which tempted us to take 
this opportunity of cooking the grouse we had killed, on which we made a 
most sumptuous meal before we retired to rest. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 189 

The latitude observed here was 75° 22' 43", and the longitude, by the IS'20. 
chronometer, 111° 14' 26", in which situation a cylinder of tin, containing an ^^ 
account of our visit, was deposited under a pile of stones eight feet high, 
and seven feet broad at the base. At half-past five P.M., we continued our 
march in a north-easterly direction, the wind being moderate from the S.S.E., 
with fine weather. Another of our party complained of snow-blindness, 
which always continued to be very painful during the time we were walking, 
but was generally relieved by the usual cool bathing and a few hours' rest. 
Our people were all supplied with crape veils, which, I believe, saved us a 
good deal of uneasiness from this complaint. 

On leaving the ravine, where we had last halted, we had entered on 
another snowy plain similar to those I have before described ; and, after 
travelling several miles over it without a single object to produce variety, or 
to excite interest, came at length to a rising ground at half-past eleven, from 
which we descried some dark-coloured ground to the north-eastward, and 
shortly after some higher land at a considerable distance beyond it, in the 
same direction. The intermediate space looked like a sea covered with ice, 
or a very level snowy plain, and we were once more puzzled to know which 
of these two it would prove. Having reached a good dry spot for the tents, 
with plenty of water in the neighbourhood, we halted at midnight, having 
marched seven miles and a half in a N. b. E. direction by account, but much 
more easterly by subsequent observations. I cannot help remarking in this 
place how extremely liable to error any account must necessarily be of the 
course and distance made good during even a single day on a journey of this 
nature. We had long been in the habit of deducing all our bearings and 
courses on board the ships astronomically, that is, by the azimuth of the sun 
and the apparent time ; and when I set out on this journey 1 had conceived 
that this habit would have enabled me to make tolerably certain at least of 
the direction in which our daily journey had been performed, whenever 
the sun should be visible. That this was by no means the case, though every 
possible attention was paid to it, will appear clear from an inspection of our 
track upon the map, which is laid down by the actual observations of two 
separate persons from day to day, and in which no material error could have 
occurred. My reason for dwelling upon this circumstance is to point out the 
extreme liability to error in laying down by account the position of any point 
at which a traveller may arrive after a journey of several hundred miles. This 
remark I cannot but consider to be peculiarly applicable to the journey of 



190 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

Hearne from the Hudson's Bay settlements to the shores of the Polar Sea, on 
the northern coast of America, in many hundred miles of which, and particularly 
in the most interesting part, not a single observation for latitude and longi- 
tude, or the variation of the magnetic needle, was obtained, whereby his 
daily estimate could be corrected. Should, therefore, the geographical 
position assigned by Hearne to the Copper-mine River be found at all near 
the truth, more especially in longitude, it will prove an extraordinary instance 
of the tendency of errors to correct each other ; such as, I believe, does not 
often occur, when the distance gone over is so considerable, either by sea or 
land. 
Tiies. 6. The wind increased to a fresh breeze from the S.S.E. with a sharp frost, 
making it very cold in the tents, which we therefore struck at four A.M., and 
at the distance of half a mile came to the summit of a hill overlooking what 
appeared to be a frozen sea before us. The distant high land beyond it to 
the north-east, now appeared a separate island, which it afterwards proved 
to be, and Avhich I named after my friend and fellow-traveller, Captain 
Edward Sabine, of the Royal Artillery. The brow of this hill, which, from 
the best estimate I could form, appeared to be from four to five hundred feet 
above the level of the sea, was covered with large masses of sandstone, over 
which we could scarcely get the wheels of the cart. We then descended the 
hill, with the intention of pushing forward to detennine whether the white 
and level space before us was the sea or not. We had not proceeded far, 
however, when the clouds began to gather heavily in the south-east, and 
shortly after snow and sleet began to fall. Being unwilling, therefore, 
to allow the men's clothes to be wet, when there was no absolute occasion 
for it, we halted on a piece of dry ground, and, having built a wall six feet 
high to shelter us from the weather, pitched the tents very comfortably under 
the lee of it, till the weather should allow us to proceed. 

We here saw one or two flocks of geese, which, to judge from those which 
we afterwards killed, were probably brent-geese fAnas BerniclaJ, and were 
the first living animals we had met with for two or three days. We -had oc- 
casionally, during that time, seen upon the snow the tracks of a solitary deer, 
but even these seemed now to have deserted a place so totally devoid of 
vegetation, that for miles together we scarcely met with a tuft of moss or a 
single poppy on which they could have fed. The tracks of foxes and mice 
were also occasionally seen, but we did not meet with any of these animals 
in this dreary and uninteresting part of our journey. 



t 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 191 

At six P.M., the wind having gradually got round to the N.N.E., and the wea- i8'i(J. 
ther being more clear and cold, I set out, accompanied by Messrs. Nias and ^^^^ 
Reid, and a quarter-master of the Griper, with the intention of examining the 
situation and appearance of the sea to the northward ; leaving the rest of the 
party, several of whom were suffering from snow-blindness, though otherwise 
in good health, to remain quietly in the tents till our return. Having tra- 
velled N.N.W. a mile and a half through much deep snow, of which a good 
deal had fallen during the day, we came to some ice thrown up on the beach, 
having cracks in it parallel to the line of the shore, which we immediately 
recognised to be of the same kind as those to which we had so long been 
accustomed in Winter Harbour, and which are occasioned by the rise and fall 
of the tide. Such, however, was the sameness in the appearance of the sea 
and of the low shelving shore interposed for two or three miles between it 
and the hill we had descended in the morning, that, had it not been for the 
circumstance I have just mentioned, we should still have been in great doubt 
respecting the nature of the level space to the northward. The place where 
we came to the sea happened to be near the outlet of a ravine, and the upper 
surface of the ice was here covered with pools of fresh water, which had 
probably been formed by the streams from the ravine, and which at a little 
distance appeared, as usual, of a beautiful blue colour. We turned to the 
westward along the beach, and at the distance of two miles ascended a point 
of land in that direction, from whence we had a commanding view of the 
objects around us. As soon as we had gained the summit of this point, which 
is about eighty feet above the sea, and was named after Mr. Nias, we had an 
additional confirmation that it was the sea which we had now reached, the 
ice being thrown up on the beach under the point, and as far as we could 
see to the westward, in large high irregular masses, exactly similar to those 
which had so often afforded us anchorage and shelter upon the southern 
shores of the island. Being desirous, however, of leaving nothing uncertain 
respecting it, we walked out a few hundred yards upon the ice, and began 
with a boarding-pike and our knives, which were all the tools we had, to 
dig a hole in it, in order to taste the water beneath. After nearly two 
hours' labour, however, we could only get down as many feet, the ice being 
very hard, brittle, and transparent ; more so, as we imagined, than salt- 
water ice usually is, which made us the more desirous to get through it. I, 
therefore, determined to return to our people, and to remove our encamp- 
ment to Point Nias, for the purpose of completing the hole through the ice 



l®2 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. with all our hands, while we were obtaining the necessary observations 

June. 1 

y^^ry^^ on shore. 

Wed. 7. On our return to the tents, we dined, and rested till one o'clock on the 
morning of the 7th, when we set out for the Point, at which we did not arrive 
till half-past four, the snow being here so deep as to make the cart an 
improper, and, indeed, almost impracticable, mode of conveying our bag- 
gage. It froze all day in the shade, with a fresh breeze from the north, and 
though the tents were pitched under the lea of the grounded ice upon the 
beach, we found it extremely cold ; all the pools of water were frozen hard 
during the night, and some of our canteens burst from the same cause. The 
people were allowed to rest after their supper till four P.M., and were then 
set to work upon the ice, and in building a monument on the top of the 
Point. 

The latitude observed here was 75° 34' 47", the longitude 110° 35 52", and 
the variation of the magnetic needle 135° 03' 55" Easterly. A series of angles 
and astronomical bearings was here obtained for the survey of the coast, and 
for detennining the position of Sabine Island, the north-western point of 
. which, being bluff headland, was, by Captain Sabine's desire, named after 
Colonel Mudge, of the Royal Artillery, one of the Commissioners of Longi- 
tude. The land to the westward of Point Nias, sweeps round into a large 
bay, terminating to the north-westward, in a bold Cape bearing N. 43° W., 
and distant from six to eight leagues, which I named after Mr. Fisher. The 
easternmost part of Melville Island, here visible, was a low projecting point 
bearing S. 77° E., and distant eight or nine miles, which was called Point 
ReiDj after the gentleman of that name, who accompanied us. 

A continuous line of very large hummocks of ice extended from Point 
Nias, about two miles and a half in a N.N.E. direction ; they were the kind 
of hummocks which always indicate the ice having met with resistance by 
grounding ; and I have little doubt that a reef is clearly marked out by 
them. What makes this more probable is, that in the whole space between 
Points Nias and Reid, the ice near the shore seemed never to have been 
disturbed by any pressure upon it, being, perhaps, defended by the reef from 
the floes coming in from the north-west ; while the whole of the shore, as far 
as I could see with a glass, to the westward of Point Nias, bore evident marks 
of that tremendous pressure, which is produced by fields of ice when set in 
motion. 

The floe of ice proved to be fourteen feet four inches in thickness, and it 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 193 

was ten at night before our people got through it, so as to admit the water ; 1820. 
it then flowed up within fifteen inches of the upper surface of the ice, by vj^^ 
with some idea may be formed of the specific gravity of the latter. The 
water was not very salt, owing probably to its acquiring a degree of fresh- 
ness, in forcing itself through an aperture so small as to require three 
quarters of an hour to fill up the hole to its proper level ; a small quantity 
of it, however, was sufficient to convince each of us, that it was the sea upon 
which we were standing, and a canteen was filled, in order to try its specific 
gravity on our return to the ships. The thickness of the ice on this coast, 
as compared with that in Winter Harbour, the former being double that of 
the other, may at first sight appear to be an indication of a more severe 
climate on this than on the southern coast of Melville Island ; but this cir- 
cumstance is easily accounted for by observing, that the ice of a harbour 
is, as we know by experience, the fomiation of a single winter ; whereas, on 
an open and exposed beach, like that of Point Nias, the last year's, or sea- 
ice, is at liberty to fix itself in the autumn, forcing up the masses which 
we see aground in all such situations, and increasing, in the course of the 
ensuing winter, to the thickness which we here found it to be. Had we 
accidentally come to any bay or harbour, secure from the access of the floes 
from without, and of the same depth as Winter Harbour, I doubt not we 
should have found the ice in it of nearly the same thickness. 

We saw nothing living in this spot, except a flock of five or six ducks, 
none of which were killed. There was scarcely any thing, except a little 
stunted moss and some lichens, which deserved the name of vegetation ; and 
the only exception to the tiresome monotony of sandstone which had occurred 
for many days past, consisted in two or three pieces of red granite, and 
of red and white feldspar, which several hours' search enabled us to find. 
Two pieces of drift-wood were also found upon the beach, from ten to 
twenty feet above the present level of the sea ; they were both pine, one of 
them being seven feet and a half long, and three inches in diameter, and the 
other much smaller. They were both partly buried in the sand, and the 
fibres were so much decayed and separated, as to fall to pieces upon being 
taken hold of. 

We dined at midnight; and at half past one A.M., on the 8th, struck Thurs. 8. 
the tents, and drew the cart to the higher part of the Point, where we oc- 
cupied two hours in completing our monument, which is of a conical form, 
twelve feet broad at the base, and as many in height. Within it were deposited 



194 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

a tin cylinder, containing an account of the party who had left it, and one 
or two silver and copper English coins. This monument may be seen at 
several miles' distance from the sea or land side ; and, as great pains were 
taken by Mr. Fisher in constructing it, it may probably lasit for a long period 
of years. 

Having now satisfactorily determined the extent of Melville Island to the 
northward upon this meridian, which corresponds very nearly with that of 
Winter Harbour, and finished all the requisite observations, I proposed pursu- 
ing our journey towards the Blue Hills, which were still in sight at the distance 
of several leagues to the westward ; and having advanced to the south-west as 
long as circumstances should appear to make it interesting or practicable, to 
return by a circuitous route to the ships. We travelled in a W. | S. direction, 
in order to keep on a ridge along the coast, which afforded the only tolerable 
walking, the snow being very deep on the lower parts of the land. We had 
to-day frequent occasion again to notice a strong smell produced by the 
wheels of the cart going over the blocks of sandstone, similar to that of fetid 
lime-stone when recently fractured. We halted at half-past seven A.M. on a 
fine sandy ground, which gave us the softest, as well as the driest, bed which 
we had yet experienced on our journey, and which was situated close to a little 
hillock of earth and moss, so full of the burrows of hares as to resemble a 
warren. We tried to smoke them out by burning port-fire, but none ap- 
peared ; and it is remarkable that, though we constantly met with the dung 
of these animals, especially in this place, where it occurred very abundantly, 
we never saw one of them during the journey. As as soon we had halted, 
we found that Mr. Reid's knapsack had dropped off the cart ; he had, there- 
fore, to go back to look for it, and did not return till eleven o'clock, being so 
much affected by snow-blindness as to be scarcely able to see his way to the 
tents. This circumstance was sufficient to shew the advantage, and even the 
necessity of travelling entirely by night under these circumstances, the 
intense glare of light from the snow during the day inevitably producing 
this painful irritation in the eyes. Our present station, which was about half- 
a-mile distant from the sea, commanding an open view of Sabine Island and 
Cape Fisher, and the weather being very clear for observations, a short base 
was obtained for the survey, between this and Point Nias. The only birds 
we «aw here were a pair of ptarmigans, which wene killed by Mr. Fisher.! 
There was some moss, and a few short tufts of grass ; and we found, for the 
first time this season, the Saxifraga Oppositifolia coming, out in flower. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 195 

remark which I afterwards found to occur in the Hecla's Meteorological 
Journal at Winter Harbour on the following day. 

At a quarter past five P.M. we resumed our journey to the south-west, and 
soon after crossed a snowy plain a mile and a quarter in breadth, extending 
to the sea to the north, and as far as the eye could reach to the south. When 
we had travelled five miles, we began to ascend considerably, and were now 
entering upon the Blue Hills, the higher parts of which, however, were three 
or four leagues distant to the westward of us. Having travelled S.W. b. W. 
seven miles, we halted, at half-an-hour before midnight, at the distance of 
three or four miles from the sea, the weather being very clear and fine, with 
a moderate breeze from the S.S.W. During the last march we passed 
over much uneven ground, of which a great deal was extremely wet ; 
moss, saxifrage, and short tufts of grass here became more abundant, and, 
interspersed among the former, some sorrel began to make its appear- 
ance. One or two pieces of red granite, and some of feldspar, were all that 
occurred in this way to repay the tedious search which we had for many days 
been making to discover any thing but sand-stone. 

Having rested, after our dinner, till half-past two A.M., we set out again Frid. 9. 
to the south-west, making, however, a very crooked course on account of the 
irregularity of the ground. Although this circumstance made the travelling 
somewhat more laborious, we were glad to be among the hills, being heartily 
tired of the sameness which the snowy plains and low grounds present. In 
the first quarter of a mile, we passed the first running stream which we had 
seen this season, and this was but a small one, from six to twelve inches deep. 
The ground as well as the pools of water was frozen hard during the 
last night, but thawed during the day, which made travelling worse and 
worse as the sun acquired power. We passed a few deers' horns, killed 
three ptarmigans, and saw a pair of ducks. The plumage of the cock-grouse 
was still quite white, except near the tip of the tail, where the feathers were 
of a fine glossy black ; but in every hen which we had lately killed, a very 
perceptible alteration was apparent, even from day to day, and their plumage 
had now nearly assumed that speckled colour which, from its resemblance to 
that of the ground, is so admirably adapted to preserve them from being seen 
at the season of their incubation. We found it difficult in general to get near 
the hens, which were very wild ; but the male birds were at all times stupidly 
tame. Serjeant Martin, who was well acquainted with birds, reported having 
seen a pair of bank-swallows (Hirundo Riparia.J We halted at seven A.M., 



196 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

having made only three or four miles, and found abundance of water, which 
allowed us the comfort of washing our flannel shirts and putting on clean 
ones. From this time, indeed, we had rather more water than we wanted, 
the abundance of it making a great deal of swampy ground, through which 
the cart was dragged with great difficulty. The latitude observed at this 
station was 75° 26' 43 ", the longitude by chronometer being 111° 22' 41". 

We pursued our journey at half-past five P.M., and found the ground ex- 
tremely wet and swampy, which made the walking very laborious ; but we 
remarked that our feet always came to the frozen ground at the depth of eight 
or ten inches, even in those parts which were the most soft. At the distance 
of two miles and a half, we came to a ravine of which the principal branch, 
being not less than a quarter of a mile wide, took a N.N.E. and S.S.W. di- 
rection, and had a considerable stream of water running to the northward. 
Another branch from the S.E., which we crossed, was three hundred yards 
wide, and was as yet quite dry at the bottom. As the night came on, the 
weather became overcast, and a good deal of snow fell ; from which, however, 
the people were sheltered by the sail which a fresh northerly wind once 
more enabled them to set on the cart. Two other ravines occurred within 
three quarters of a mile, apparently connected with the large one, and which 
it required our utmost exertion to cross, the water being higher than our knees 
in the middle, and the whole of the sides of the ravine covered with deep 
and soft snow, into which the wheels of the cart sunk nearly to the axle, so 
that we could only get it across by what sailors call a " standing pull." The 
men having got their trowsers wet, we continued our journey till half-past 
eleven, to give them a chance of drying, and then halted, having only tra- 
velled four miles in a S.W. direction. We met with abundance of sorrel in 
some parts of this journey ; its leaves were as yet scarcely the size of a six- 
pence, and almost entirely red. A few ptarmigans and a couple of geese were 
all the living animals seen, but we passed several tracks and horns of deer. 
Sat. 10. At half-past two A.M., on the 10th, we struck the tents, and proceeded to 
the S.W., the wind having got round to the S.E., with continued snow. At 
the distance of two miles we entered upon a level plain three miles wide, 
which, with the exception of a patch here and there, was entirely covered 
with snow. The uncovered parts of this plain were so wet as to be almost 
impassable for the cart ; and we were now as desirous of keeping on the snow 
as, at the beginning of our journey from Winter Harbour, we had been 
anxious to avoid it. The plain terminated by a ravine, on the south bank of 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 197 

which, finding good ground for the tents, and plenty of water, we halted at 1820. 
a quarter-past seven, being in latitude by observation 75° 20' Si", the longi- Z^^ 
tude by account 111° 42' 15". 

The weather continued hazy, with snow occasionally, but our clothes 
dried in the sun towards noon ; soon after which, however, the snow 
became more thick and constant, so that we could scarcely see a hun- 
dred yards around the tents. We waited for some time in hope of the 
weather clearing, and then, at a quarter-past five, continued our journey ; 
as we were under the necessity, however, of directing our course entirely 
by compass, which is here a very uncertain and deceitful guide, we made 
but a slow and tedious progress. The wind freshened up to a gale from the 
S.E. soon after we had set out, which made it impossible for us any longer 
to pursue our journey, and we began to look out for a spot on which the 
tents could be pitched, so as to aflbrd us a dry flooring, if not shelter, 
during the gale. Having crossed three ravines within a mile and a quarter, 
we at length came to a very deep one, which was nearly perpendicular 
on each side, with the snow over-hanging in some parts, so as to make 
it dangerous to go near the edge of the bank. We were at length for- 
tunate in finding a narrow sloping ridge of snow, leading down to the 
bottom of the ravine, and having descended this with some difficulty, we 
found such good shelter as to determine me to halt here for the night, which 
now became more and more inclement. The bottom of the ravine, in which 
there was not much water, abounded with schistose sandstone, with which a 
dry and comfortable flooring was soon paved for the tents, taking care to 
pitch them at a sufficient distance from the north bank of the ravine, under 
which a number of large masses of snow were lying, which had lately fallen 
from the over-hanging part of the cliff*, not less than eighty or a hundred feet 
perpendicular in this place. 

The weather continued very inclement during the night, but we were so Sun. li. 
well sheltered, as to be very comfortable in the tents, which answered every 
purpose for which they were intended, and without which no warmth 
could have been obtained while resting. I may also here remark, that the 
mode we had adopted with the blankets, of making them into bags, ap- 
peared the warmest, and in every respect the most comfortable as well as con- 
venient which could have been devised. The wind gradually veered to the 
N.N.W. in the morning, and the weather having cleared up about half-past 
four we struck the tents, and set off to the southward. The south bank of the 



198 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. ravine being nearly as steep, and much higher than the other, it weis with 
^'^^ considerable labour and difficulty that we were able to get the cart up it, 
in which, however, we succeeded by six o'clock, when we found that we 
were travelling on much higher ground than before, overlooking that which 
we had left the preceding evening. Having proceeded four miles over a level 
country, with much snow upon it, we suddenly and unexpectedly came in 
sight of the sea, or a lake, at the distance of two or three miles before 
us, just appearing between two high and steep hills which terminated a 
deep and broad ravine. In a short time, we opened out an island, which 
was soon recognised to be the same which we had seen to the eastward of 
us, on our journey to the north, and which we now found to be situated in 
this lake or gulf. We hastened forward to the point of the nearest hill, 
from whence the prospect was extremely grand and picturesque. We 
were looking down nearly perpendicular from a height of eight or nine 
hundred feet, on an extensive plain of ice, of which, to the westward, 
we could perceive no termination for a distance of five or six leagues, 
the prospect to the eastward being obstructed by other hills. A thick 
mist or vapour was at times carried rapidly along by the wind over this 
ice, to which it was entirely confined, occasionally covering the top of 
the island with a dense cloud. The impression made upon our minds at the 
time was, that it was a frozen lake on which we were now looking ; but this 
conjecture, as it afterwards appeared, proved erroneous. The ravine at which 
we had arrived discharges its waters into a snug cove two or three miles deep, 
which was named after Mr. Bushnan, and at the head of which we now pro- 
posed resting, if a place could be found at which our descent into the ravine 
could be effected. The sides of the ravine, w^hich were very steep, were 
covered with innumerable blocks of sandstone of every size and shape, over 
which alone any road could be found to the cove below. It was necessary, 
therefore, to make the attempt, but it was impossible for the best built carriage 
to travel long on such a road ; and when we had half descended the bank, 
which led into the rav^ine on its north side, the axle-tree broke short in the 
middle. The baggage was therefore taken ofl^, and carried down to the 
bottom, where the tents were pitched at eleven A.M., the wheels being left 
where the cart broke down, as sound as at first. 

The latitude observed here was 75° 12' 50", the longitude, by chrono- 
meter, lir 50' 05", and the variation of the magnetic needle 125° 12' 22' 
Easterly. The wind being fresh from the W.N.W., and the weather being 



1 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 199 

cold and raw, we built a wall to windward of the tents, as a substitute for l^'^*^- 
the usual shelter afforded by the cart; after supper, the people being a v-^-v^ 
good deal fatigued, were allowed to rest till near midnight, and then em- 
ployed in arranging the baggage, so as to carry it on our shoulders for the 
rest of the journey. We saw here a great number of brent-geese, some 
ptarmigan, and many snow-buntings ; the constant and cheerful note of the 
latter reminded us of a better country. The wood which composed the light 
frame-work of the cart being now disposable as fuel, we were glad to make 
use of it in cooking a few ptarmigan, which afforded us another sumptuous 
meal. It is not, perhaps, easy for those who have never experienced it, to 
imagine how great a luxury any thing warm in this way becomes, after living 
entirely upon cold provisions for some time in this rigid climate. This 
change was occasionally the more pleasant to us, from the circumstance of 
the preserved meats, on which we principally lived, being generally at this 
time hard frozen, when taken out of the canisters. 

Having finished our arrangements with respect to the baggage, which Mon 1-2. 
made it necessary that each of the men should carry between sixty and 
seventy pounds, and the officers from forty to fifty ; we struck the tents at 
half-past two on the morning of the 12th, and proceeded along the eastern 
shore of the Cove, towards a point which forms the entrance on that side. 
The rocks above us, which here approach the sea within fifty yards, were 
composed of sandstone in horizontal strata ; and, in many parts of the cliffs 
which overlook the Cove, their appearance resembled more the ruins of 
buildings than the work of nature. Large fragments of stones which had 
fallen from above, were strewed about at the base of these precipices, 
filling up nearly the whole space between them and the beach. The head 
of Bushnan Cove is one of the pleasantest and most habitable spots we 
had yet seen in the Arctic Regions, the vegetation being more abundant 
and forward than in any other place, and the situation sheltered and favour- 
able for game. We found here a good deal of moss, grass, dwarf-willow, 
and saxifrage, and Captain Sabine met with a ranunculus in full flower. 

We arrived at the Point at five o'clock, and as we could now perceive that 
the lake or gulf extended a considerable distance to the eastward, as well 
as to the westward, and that it would require a long time to go round in 
the former direction, I determined to cross it on the ice ; and as the distance 
to the opposite shore seemed too great for one journey, the snow being 
soft upon the ice, first to visit the island, and having rested there, to proceed 



260^ VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. to the southward. Havins: walked five miles in a S.S.W. direction, we landed 
at seven A.M., near the south-east part of the island, which I named after 
my friend Mr. Hooper. We had now little doubt that we had been tra- 
velling over a gulf of the sea, as we had not seen any land enclosing it to the 
westward, for more than two points of the compass, the weather being 
very clear ; but, as nothing could make this absolutely certain but tasting 
the salt-water, I had just signified my intention of occupying the rest of the 
day in digging a hole through the ice for this purpose, when one of the party 
having gone to a pool on the floe for some water to drink, found it to be 
quite salt, and thus saved us any further trouble or doubt respecting it. 
The wind was fresh from the westward, and the tents were pitched near the 
beach, under the lee of the high part of the island. Captain Sabine and 
myself, having ascended to the top, which is on the east side from five to six, 
and on the west, about seven hundred feet above the sea, and in many 
parts nearly perpendicular, we had a commanding view of this fine 
gulf, which I named after my much-esteemed friend and brother-officer. 
Lieutenant Liddon. The entrance of the gulf to the westward was now 
very apparent, the head-lands which appeared to terminate its north and 
south shores being distant from us from five to seven leagues. I named 
them after Lieutenants Beechey and Hoppner, and their astronomical bear- 
ings were S. 86° W., and S. 65° W. respectively. 

The north shore of Liddon's Gulf, being the termination of the Blue Hills 
to the south-west, is high, bold and precipitous as far to the eastward as 
Bushnan Cove, and its formation appeared, with a glass, to be the same as in 
that neighbourhood; beyond this, to the eastward, the land becomes low,; 
and the gulf takes a bend to the north-east. In this direction we could not 
distinguish its extent, but we must have passed at no great distance from the 
head of it on the 4th. A bluff" cape on this shore, which is seen very 
conspicuously on a clear day from the Table-hill of Winter Harbour, was 
named after Mr. Edwards, Tvho had been the first among us to conjecture 
from its appearance, that water would be found at its foot. Immediately to 
the westward of Cape Edwards the land recedes, forming a bay, called 
Barry's Bay, of which our situation and distance did not allow us to 
spe the extent. We found that the nearest land to us on the opposite 
shore was not on the south coast of the gulf, as we had supposed, but 
a point to the E.S.E., for which it was, therefore, proposed that we 
should next cross the ice : the south shoi-e is all high and steep, but 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 201 

much less so than the north ; its nearest part was seven or eight miles 1 820. 
distant. ^^ 

Hooper's Island is principally composed of the same stratified sand-stone as 
the adjacent shores ; on the top of the island, however, we also found a great 
deal of clay iron-stone, varying in colour from fine chocolate to dark blue, 
some of which was remarkably compact and heavy ; and several lumps of 
calcareous spar, or crystallized carbonate of lime, were picked up on the 
beach. We met with little or no vegetation, a few stunted tufts of moss 
being, I believe, all that occurred in that Avay. There were a great many 
brent-geese on the beach, of which four were killed, weighing about four 
pounds each when shot, and two pounds when ready for dressing. We saw 
also several grouse, a great many snow-buntings, whose lively note still 
saluted us wherever we Avent, a raven, and an ivory gull. The latitude, ob- 
served at the tents, was 75° 05' 18", the longitude, by chronometer 111° 56' 58", 
and the variation of the magnetic needle 123° 47' 58" easterly. 

We rested till six P.M., and then set ofi^" across the ice for the point. The 
snow had now become so soft after the heat of the day, that, loaded as we 
were, we often sunk nearly up to the knees, which made travelling very 
laborious, and we were, therefore, not sorry to get on shore by half-past eight, 
having walked, by our account, three miles and a half. On landing we saw 
two deer, but they were too shy to allow our sportsmen to come near them. 
We directed our course to the south-east, along a narrow ridge of land inter- 
posed between the sea and a lagoon, which now made its appearance at the 
back, and which is about three-quarters of a mile long in a north-east direction, 
and a quarter of a mile Avide. It communicates with the gulf by a narrow 
opening, only forty or fifty yards across, which, as well as the lagoon, was 
still completely frozen over. In this neighbourhood we picked up the root 
and three feet of the trunk of a small pine-tree, about fifteen feet above the 
present level of the sea. We passed also a part of the skeleton of a musk-ox, 
frozen hard into the ground. The soil here became very rich, and abounded 
with the finest moss, together with a great deal of grass, saxifrage and poppy; 
and the quantity of dung Avhich covered the ground shewed it to be a feeding- 
place for the deer, musk-oxen, and hares: the tracts of the former were 
numerous and recent. We halted at half-past eleven. Hooper's Island being 
distant from us five miles and a half in a W. b. N. direction. The night Avas 
remarkably clear and fine, with a light wind from the westAvard. 

The spot on which we encamped appeared so favourable for obtaining 



3C^ VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. specimens of the different animals which frequent this island, that I deter- 
vj!l^i^ mined to remain here one day for the purpose of sporting and examining 
its natural productions. The latitude observed at the tent was 75° 02' 37", 
the longitude, by the chronometer, 111° rS7' 10", and the variation 126° 01' 48" 
easterly ; from this station astronomical bearings were obtained for the survey 
of the gulf. 
Tues. 13. The sportsmen went oat early in the morning, and soon after met with a 
musk-ox feeding on a spot of luxuriant pasture-ground, covered with the dung 
of these animals, as well as of deer. They fired at him from a considerable 
distance, without wounding him, and he set off at a very quick pace over 
the hills. The musk-ox has the appearance of a very ill-proportioned little 
animal, its hair being so long as to make its feet appeal* only two or three 
inches in length ; they seem, indeed, to be treading upon it at every step, and 
the individual in question actually did so in some instances, as the hair was 
found in several of the foot-tracts. When disturbed and hunted, they frequently 
tore up the ground with their horns, and turned round occasionally to look at 
their pursuers, but they never attempted to attack any of them. Our 
gentlemen also met with a herd of twelve deer, three only of which had 
horns, and they were much the largest of the herd, and constantly drove 
the others away when they attempted to stop. The birds seen by our people 
were many brent-geese and ptarmigans, several golden plovers, one or two 
" boatswains" (Lestris Parasiticus), and abundance of snow-buntings. One 
or two mice (Mus Hudsonius) were caught ; like several others we had seen, 
these were turning brown about the belly and head, and the back was of a 
dark grey colour. In every part of the island over which we travelled, the 
holes and tracts of these lirtle animals were occasionally seen ; one of them 
which Serjeant Martin ran after, finding no hole near, and that he could not 
escape, set himself against a stone, as if endeavouring to defend himself, 
and bit the Serjeant's finger when he took hold of him. 

On a point of land at the distance of three-quarters of a mile to the W.b.S. 
of the tents, and within a hundred yards of the sea, the remains of six 
Esquimaux huts were discovered ; they consisted of rude circles, about six 
feet in diameter, constructed irregularly of stones of all sizes and shapes, 
and raised to the height of two feet from the ground ; they were paved with 
large slabs of white schistose sandstone, which is here abundant ; the moss 
had spread over this floor» and appeared to be the growth of three or 
four years. In each of t|he hats, on. one side, was a small separate com- 



i 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 208 

partment forming a recess, projecting outwards, which had probably been 1820. 
their store-room ; and at a few feet distant from one of the huts was a ^^J^ 
smaller circle of stones, which had composed the fire-place, the mark of 
fire being still perceptible upon them. The huts which we had seen upon 
Byam Martin Island, as well as those which we had visited on the coast of 
Greenland in 1818, had each one of these small circles attached to them ; there 
was also a separate pile of stones at a little distance from the huts, on which 
the ptarmigan had lately taken up their abode, and which was probably 
another fire-place. If the Esquimaux derive any part of their subsistence 
from the land, and are under the necessity of coming to this high latitude in 
quest of it, they will, perhaps, no where find better fare for a month or six 
weeks than in this neighbourhood, for I have no doubt that, in the months of 
July and August, the game is here in great plenty. It is scarcely possible, 
however, upon the whole, that these people could long subsist on any part of 
Melville Island, the summer season being much too short to allow them to lay in 
a sufficient stock of provisions for a long and severe winter. It was remarked 
by Captain Sabine and Mr. Fisher, who had both landed on Byam Martin 
Island, that the huts we had now discovered appeared to be more recently 
deserted than the others. 

The day was fine and clear, with a moderate wind from the westward till 
four P.M., when it died away, and was shortly after succeeded by a breeze 
from the southward, with a fall of snow. When we were setting oif to the 
southward, a herd of five deer came towards the tents, but we did not 
succeed in killing any of them. We now travelled due south with the inten- 
tion of getting sight of the Table-hills, and returning by that route to the 
ships, as there appeared to be nothing more within our reach of sufficient 
interest to detain us any longer from them. At eight P.M., finding that the 
people's clothes were becoming wet through by the sleet which fell, we 
halted and pitched the tents, the wind having freshened up to a strong 
breeze from S.E.b.S., and the night being very inclement. There was here 
a great deal of clay mixed with the soil, and the sandstone began to be 
almost entirely of a greenish colour. 

Early in the morning of the 14tli, the wind veered to the westward, and Wed. 14. 
the weather became gradually more clear ; we therefore continued our 
journey to the southward, and having passed over several ridges of high 
ground lying across our track, and crossed some ravines lying in a N.E. and 
S.W. direction, we came in sight of the Table-hills bearing S.E. of us, and 



30^ VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. at eight A.M, pitched the tents on some dry ground on the bank of a ravine. 
.,j^!^ Two of the men complained of disordered bowels during the last march, occa- 
sioned, as they supposed, by having taken too copious a draught of very 
cold water at setting out in the morning. They were quite relieved, how- 
ever, by a few hours' rest, and our snow-blindness had now completely 
left us. The snow-buntings, the only birds seen, were here very nu- 
merous, and were flying about our tents all day like sparrows. We 
moved on towards the Table-hills at five P.M., and crossed several ravines 
without much water in them, running generally to the north-eastward, and 
which therefore, probably, empty themselves into Liddon's Gulf As the 
Table-hills are almost entirely composed of the debris of limestone, while we 
had hitherto met with nothing but sandstone, we were anxious to observe 
when the former would be found to commence, but we met with none of it 
till within a few hundred yards of the hills, when it began to occur in 
small pieces lying on the surface, with a little granite and feldspar, the 
soil being still quite sandy. We halted between the Table-hills at ten o'clock, 
having travelled eight miles over very swampy ground, and with the snow up 
to our knees in some of the hollows. We met with no living animals during 
this part of the journey, and it may be remarked, generally, that we always 
found the game of every kind more abundant near the sea than inland, 
except on the north coast of Melville Island, which is too barren to afford 
them subsistence. 
Thiir. 15. As I was desirous of remaining here till after noon, to obtain observations for 
determining the situation of the Table-hills, the easternmost of which is the 
most conspicuous object on this part of the coast, as well as a mark for the 
anchorage in the Bay of the Heclaand Griper, the people were employed early 
in the morning in carrying stones to the top of it, where a monument ten feet 
high, and the same in breadth at its base, was erected by Mr. Fisher 
and a copper cylinder, containing a full account of our visit, deposited 
within it. In the meantime. Captain /Sabine and myself were occupied in 
obtaining the necessary observations, by which the latitude of the hill was 
found to be 74° 48' 33', its longitude 111° 11' 49", and tire variation of the 
magnetic needle 123° 05° 30" Easterly. Having before given some account 
of the minerals found in this neighbourhood, I shall only add on this subject, 
that, among the mineralogical specimens now added to our collection, was 
a piece of fossil wood, found at the foot of the westernmost of the two hills, 
lying loosely and separately upon the sand. It may be imagined, that 



i 



OF A I>fORTH-\VEST PASSAGE. 205 

we looked anxiously towards the sea for any appearance of open water in 1820. 
the offing, but nothing of this kind was visible, though the prospect was a ^'^ 
commanding one, as far to the westward as a S.S.W. bearing. 

As soon as the observations were completed, we set off for Winter Harbour, 
and having passed over much rich and wet ground, abounding with sorrel, 
which now began to put forth its leaves with more vigour, arrived on board 
at seven P.M., having been met, and welcomed most heartily, by almost 
every officer and man belonging to the ships ; and it was no small satis- 
faction to me to hear it remarked, that the whole of our travelling party 
appeared in more robust health thap when we left them. 



VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 



CHAPTER IX. 

OCCURRENCES AT WINTER HARBOUR IN THE EARLY PART OF JUNE 

GRADUAL DISSOLUTION OP THE ICE UPON THE SEA, AND OP THE SNOW 
UPON THE LAND — HUNTING PARTIES SENT OUT TO PROCURE GAME — ■ 
DECEASE AND BURIAL OF WILLIAM SCOTT — EQUIPMENT OF THE SHIPS 

COMPLETED TEMPERATE WEATHER DURING THE MONTH OF JULY 

BREAKING UP OF THE ICE NEAR THE SHIPS — MOVE TO THE LOWER 
PART OF THE HARBOUR — SEPARATION OF THE ICE AT THE ENTRANCE 

PREPARE TO SAIL— ABSTRACT OF OBSERVATIONS MADE IN WINTER 

HARBOUR. 



Jung' 1 HAD the happiness to find, on my return, that the officers and men in 
both ships continued to enjoy the same good health as before, with the 
exception of Scott, who was still the only man in the Hecla's sick-list, 
and whose complaint seemed such as to baffle every attempt that had been 
made to produce an amendment. A constant disposition to fainting and 
a languid sort of despondency had been, for some time past, the only 
symptoms which induced Mr. Edwards to continue the anti-scorbutic treat- 
ment, and this it Avas sometimes absolutely necessary to discontinue for a 
day or two together, on account of the weak state of his bowels. During 
my absence he had been much worse than before, notwithstanding the 
greatest care and attention paid to him, but he was now once more better. 
He had lived almost entirely on the ptarmigan and ducks, of which a suf- 
ficient quantity had been procured to serve the sick and convalescent in 
both ships abundantly, and none had at this time been issued to any other 
officer or man in the expedition. 

The equipment of the ships had gone on satisfactorily during my absence,; 
the Griper being nearly ready for sea, the Hecla not quite so forward, on ac- 
count of the heavy work with the ballast, of which sixty-five tons had been 
brought on board to supply the deficiency of weight in her holds. Thei] 
survey of the provisions, fuel, and other stores was completed, and the 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 207 

quantity and condition of them, with the exception of the lemon-juice and isio. 
vinegar before mentioned, were found to be satisfactory. Indeed, the .^^^ 
whole of the provision was ascertained to be as good as when it came out 
of store, more than twelve months before, except a small quantity of bread 
and of sugar on the outside part of a few casks, on which a little moisture 
appeared, and which made it expedient to use those articles first. This 
excellent state of our provisions must, independently of the antiseptic pro- 
perties of a cold climate, which is unfavourable to the process of putrefaction 
or the accumulation of vermin, be mainly attributed to the care which had 
been taken to supply us with every article of the best quality, and to pack the 
whole in strong, tight casks, which were at once impervious to water, and 
less liable to damage by accidents in the hold. With respect to vermin, I 
may here mention, that not a mouse, or rat, or maggot of any kind, ever 
appeared on board, to my knowledge, during this voyage. 

A very perceptible change had taken place in the ice of the harbour 
on its upper surface, it being covered with innumerable pools of water, 
chiefly brackish, except close in-shore, where the tides had lifted the ice 
considerably above the level of the sea. 

Previously to the continuance of the narrative of occurrences subsequently 
to my return from the land-journey, it may be proper to give some account 
of the observations made on board the ships by Lieutenants Liddon and 
Beechey, during my absence from Winter Harbour. 

From these it appears, that the first red phalarope, (Phalaropus Platyrinchos), Frid.'2. 
and also the first flock of snow-buntings which had been observed at Winter 
Harbour this season, were seen on the 2d of June. It is perhaps worthy of 
remark that, from eight P.M. on the 1st, till midnight on the 2d, being an 
interval of twenty-eight hours, the mercury in the barometer remained 
steadily at thirty inches, without varying a single hundredth. The weather 
was cloudy, and the wind rather variable, though moderate from the north- 
ward and westward during that time, and two or three fine days succeeded 
it, though with some appearance occasionally of rain or snow. 

A flock of twelve king-ducks, flying to the north-east, together with a Sat. 3. 
single raven and an arctic gull, made their appearance on the 3d, and a 
golden plover was also killed, and a few others seen on that day. The ther- 
mometer rose in the shade from 29° at 4 A.M., to 43° at noon, which is one 
of the greatest changes that was experienced in the course of one day at 
this part of the scale. 



208 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. On the 4th, Lieutenant Liddon caused His Majesty's birth-day to be 
vj!^ commemorated in the best manner that the situation of the ships Avould 
Sun. 4 permit, by hoisting the ensigns and pendants, and directing full allowance 
of provisions to be served to the crews. It is remarkable that, at Winter 
Harbour, the weather was fine, and the wind moderate from the S.S.W., 
during the 4th, while, at a few leagues' distance to the northward, we 
experienced a heavy gale from the southward, with continued snow and a 
Mon. 5. heavy drift. On the 5th, the officers remarked a more perceptible thaw 
than before, both on shore and on the ice, many pools of water having appeared 
in new places on the latter, and the snow disappearing fast from the land, 
though no streams of water were yet seen in the neighbourhood of Winter 
Harbour. Flocks of ducks and geese were from this time seen almost daily 
for the next six weeks, except immediately about the ships, from which the 
game of every kind was scared soon after their arrival from the southward. 
Wed. 7. On the 7th, Lieutenant Liddon walked over the ice to the entrance of the 
harbour, where there was not even so much alteration perceptible as about 
the ships ; indeed, every thing remained exactly the same, to all appearance, 
as in the middle of winter. At five P.M., the weather being hazy, and a 
light shower of snow falling, a strongly prismatic rainbow appeared, a 
phenomenon of rare occurrence in these regions ; it had, I believe, nothing 
Fiid. 9. about it different from those observed in other climates. On the 9th, the 
first seal was seen, lying upon the ice, near the mouth of the harbour, and 
having a hole close to him, as usual ; as we never saw more than one of these 
animals here at a time, and that very rarely, it was common for us, when- 
ever this did occur, to remark that the seal had been seen, and the same 
mode of expression was as nati^rally and more justly applied to the bear seen 
in the autumn soon after our arrival here. So few, indeed, are the animals 
in this neighbourhood, which either live in the sea, or derive their subsist- 
ence from it, that it is scarcely possible that the Esquimaux, who depend 
chiefly, if not entirely, upon them for provision, could long exist on the 
shores of Melville Island. About this time several mosquitoes (Ciilex Pipiens) 
were caught, but they were never of the least annoyance to us, as is the 
case on the shores of Hudson's Bay, and in other cold countries ; nor 
indeed, did I hear of any of our people having once been bit by them. 
The buds of the Saxifraga Oppositifolia, and of the dwarf- willow, were 
observed to be opening out on the 9th, and some of the sorrel to be in 
flower ; a plant with a flower of a lilac colour, having a very sweet smell. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 209 

and which we supposed to be a Draba, was also observed to be pushing out 1820. 
its blossoms about this time ; but none of these plants were so forward as \.*-^->L< 
the saxifrage. 

On the 11th, another instance occurred of a remarkable difference in 
the weather in Winter Harbour, and at no great distance to the northward of 
it, the weather being described in the Meteorological Journals of the ships, 
as very inclement, with a gale of wind from the westward, while, near 
Bushnan Cove, we enjoyed a clear and moderate day. Some hares were 
seen, for the first time, to the eastward of the ships. 

Some of the officers returned on the 14th, after an excursion of two days Wed. 14. 
to the eastward, bringing with them three brent-geese, six brace of ptar- 
migan, and a golden plover, and having seen several hares. Mr. Beverly 
describes the soil upon the hills to be composed of clay, and the large 
masses of sandstone which are found on the surface as much impregnated 
with iron. The first rein-deer were seen from the ships this day ; and it was 
conjectured by the officers, from the situation in which they were observed, 
and from their setting off directly to the northward, that they had just landed 
upon the island. 

Being desirous of procuring as much game as possible during the remainder pi-ij jg. 
of the time we might be destined still to remain in our present inactive state, 
and finding .that the short daily excursions which our sportsmen were enabled 
to make in the usual way, did not take them to a sufficient distance from the 
ships for this purpose, I directed a party of officers and men to be pre- 
pared from each ship, under Lieutenants Beechey and Hoppner, to remain a 
few days out, at the distance of ten or twelve miles to the eastward and 
westward of the harbour, and to send in their game whenever any should be 
procured. They accordingly left the ships this evening, carrying with them 
tents, blankets, fuel, and the same allowance of provisions as was issued on 
board. Lieutenant Hoppner, who commanded the party which went to the 
south-west, was directed carefully to watch the ice, that any appearance of 
its breaking up might immediately be made known to me. Captain Sabine 
and his men were indefatigably employed during the day in pitching a 
laboratory-tent, having a marquee within it, for the reception of the clocks, 
it being his wish, now that the weather was more favourable for the purpose, 
to occupy the whole of the time which might elapse previously to the sailing 
of the Expedition, in making a fresh series of observations for the pendulums. 
At half an hour before midnight, a triple rainbow appeared, the outer arch 



310 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. being quite complete, and strongly tinged with the prismatic colours ; the second 
v.^vO nearly perfect ; and the inner one being only perceptible near its eastern leg. 
Sat. 17. A fog in the early part of the morning, being dispersed by the warmth 
of the sun, the weather became fine and pleasant. Having observed 
that the sorrel was now so far advanced in foliage as to be easily 
gathered in sufficient quantity for eating, I gave orders that two after- 
noons in each week should be occupied by all hands in collecting the 
leaves of this plant ; each man being required to bring in, for the present, 
one ounce, to be served in lieu of the lemon-juice, pickles, and dried herbs 
which had been hitherto issued. The growth of the sorrel was from this 
time so quick, and the quantity of it so great on every part of the ground 
about the harbour, that we shortly after sent the men out every afternoon for 
an hour or two ; in which time, besides the advantage of a healthy walk, they 
could without difficulty pick nearly a pound each, of this valuable antiscor- 
butic, of which they were all extremely fond. A part of the leaves thus 
daily collected was served to the messes, both of officers and men, and 
eaten in various ways, such as pickles, salad, in puddings, or boiled as greens ; 
in all of which modes it was constantly and abundantly used till we 
sailed from Winter Harbour, and for three weeks after, whenever an oppor- 
tunity offered of sending on shore to procure it. Of the good effects pro- 
duced upon our health by the unlimited use of fresh vegetable substances, 
thus bountifully supplied by the hand of nature, even where least to be ex- 
pected, little doubt can be entertained, as it is well known to be a never- 
failing specific for scorbutic affections, to which all persons deprived of it 
for a length of time are probably more or less pre-disposed. It is reasonable, 
therefore, to attribute in a great degree to the use of the sorrel, the efficient 
state of our crews at the time of our re-commencing our operations at sea. 
We found also a few roots of scurvy-grass (Cochlearia Fenestrata), but they 
were too rare and the leaves too small to be of any service to us. 

Mr, Wakeham, with a party from the S.W., returned in the evening from a 
shooting excursion, having killed the first deer that we had procured this 
season, which gave us sixty pounds of meat. A second, sent in by Lieutenant 
Beechey on the 19th, weighed only fifty-two pounds, when cleaned, though 
not of a very small size ; but these animals are extremely lean on their first 
arrival from the south, and appear to improve in this respect very rapidly by 
.the good feeding they find upon this island. 
k^jBy the 20th of June the land, in the immediate neighbourhood of the ships. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 211 

and especially in low and sheltered situations, was much covered with the 1820. 
handsome purple flower of the Saxifraga Oppositifolia, which was at this time JllJ^ 
in 'great perfection, and gave something like cheerfulness and animation 
to a scene hitherto indescribably dreary in its appearance. The poppy 
(Papaver Nudicaiile) and some other plants, which will be described here- 
after, and most of which appeared in flower during the month of July, 
afforded us a degree of enjoyment that made us for awhile forget the rigour of 
this severe climate. 

The wind increased to a fresh gale from the north on the night of the 20th, Wed.21. 
and continued to do so during the following day ; so that Captain Sabine 
had great difficulty in keeping his tents secure, and in spite of every exertion 
the canvass came in upon one of them, and put it out of its place. The 
ravines, which had no water in them a week before, were now discharging 
such deep and rapid torrents into the sea, as to render them quite impassable. 
The suddenness with which the changes take place during the short season, 
which may be called summer in this climate, must appear very striking when 
it is remembered that, for a part of the first week in June, we were under the 
necessity of thawing artificially the snow, which we made use of for water 
during the early part of our journey to the northward ; that, during the second 
week, the ground was in most parts so wet and swampy that we could with 
difficulty travel ; and that, had we not returned before the end of the third 
week, we should probably have been prevented doing so for some time, by 
the impossibility of crossing the ravines without great danger of being carried 
away by the torrents, an accident that happened to our hunting parties on 
one or two occasions, in endeavouring to return with their game to the 
ships. Lieutenant Hoppner sent in another deer, being the largest of a herd 
of fifteen, notwithstanding which, it only furnished us with seventy-eight 
pounds of venison. Lieutenant Hoppner reported that the pools upon the 
upper surface of the ice to the south-west were rapidly increasing in size and 
number, but that no indication of its breaking up had yet appeared. 

On the 22d, at four P.M., a thermometer, in the shade on board the Hecla, 
stood at 51°, being the highest temperature we had yet registered this season. 
A swan was seen by Mr. Scallon on a pond to the S.W. ; this was, I believe, 
the only bird of the kind seen during our stay here, except a dead one which 
was picked up on our first arrival. 

On the 24th we had frequent showers of snow, which occur in this climate 
more or less at all times of the year ; at this season, however, when the 



Sat. 24. 



213 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

earth is warm, it seldom or never lies on the ground for a whole day 
together. 

Captain Sabine, among the numerous difficulties he had to overcome in 
completing his series of observations for the pendulum, was now annoyed by 
the constant thawing and sinking of the ground, though much pains had been 
taken to lay a solid foundation for the clocks to stand upon ; fortunately, 
however, no serious inconvenience arose from this new annoyance. Lieutenant 
Beechey and his people procured another deer, and several hares and birds, 
which, added to the game already received, afforded a supply sufficient 
to substitute for three days' regular allow^ance, while near the ships 
scarcely a single bird could now be procured. Not doubting, therefore, 
of the advantage of this plan, I determined to continue it till near the 
time of our sailing, by relieving the parties after a certain number of 
days' absence. An account of the total quantity of game obtained during 
our long stay at Melville Island will be given hereafter. The men 
were, in general, particularly fond of these excursions, from which they 
invariably returned in the best possible health, though generally a little 
thinner than when they went out. As a matter of good policy, it was our 
custom to consider the heads and hearts of the deer as the lawful perquisites 
of those who killed them, which regulation served to increase their keenness 
in hunting, while it gave the people thus employed rather a larger share of 
fresh meat than those who remained on board. 
Mon. 26. Lieutenant Beechey, on his return from the eastward at midnight on the 
26th, reported that the ice along shore in that direction appeared in a more 
forward state of dissolution than near Winter Harbour, there being almost 
water enough in some places to allow a boat to pass, with several large cracks 
in the ice extending from the land some distance to seaward. The deer had 
now become much more wild near the tents, and it was therefore necessary 
to shift the ground a little. Lieutenant Beechey succeeded in killing one of 
these animals, by lying down quietly, and imitating the voice of a fa^v^li 
when the deer immediately came up to him within gun-shot. The horns of 
the deer, killed at this season, as Mr. Fisher remarks, were " covered with a 
soft skin, having a downy pile or hair upon it ; the horns themselves were 
soft, and at the tips flexible and easily broken." The foxes, of which they 
saw several, " had a black spot, or patch, on each side of the hind-quarters^ ^^y 
or hams." Lieutenant Beechey reported also, that one of the Hecla's quarter- !(j 
masters, who belonged to his party, had met with the crown-bone of a whale 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 213" 

at the distance of a mile from the sea, and considerably above its present 1820. 
level. Another was subsequently found in a similar situation, more than a ^,^^ 
mile to the north of the harbour, and nearly buried in the earth, which was 
hard frozen around it. Two headlands, to the eastward of the ships, near the 
station which Lieutenant Beechey had chosen for the tents, and for the position 
of which he had obtained angles during his late excursion, were named after 
Messrs. Halse and Wakeham. 

On the 29th, one of the men, in returning on board, from the daily occu- Thur. 29. 
pation of gathering sorrel, found in a hole upon the ice a small fish, which 
appeared to be of the whiting species, and on going to examine the place 
where it was picked up, Mr. Edwards and myself found two others exactly 
similar. As there was as yet no communication between the sea and the 
upper surface of the ice, sufficiently large to admit these fish, it became a 
matter of question in what manner they had got into the situation in which 
we found them. It appeared most likely that they were frozen on the surface 
of the water at the beginning of winter when the frost first commenced, and 
perhaps, therefore, had been floating there dead. We remarked that when- 
ever any hard substance is laid upon the ice in small quantities, it soon 
makes a deep hole for itself, by the heat it absorbs and radiates, by which 
the ice around it is melted. There were at this time upon the ice innume- 
rable holes of this kind, some forming small, and others large pools of water; 
and in every one of these, without exception, some extraneous substance, 
such as sea-weed, sand, and not unfrequently a number of small putrid . 
shrimps were found. In one of these holes the fish alluded to were found. 
It was curious to see how directly contrary was the effect produced upon the 
ice by a quantity of straw which was put out upon it in the early part of 
May, and which, by preventing the access of warmth, had now become raised 
above the general surface more than two feet ; affording a strong practical 
example of the principle on which straw is made use of in ice-houses, and 
what was at that time of more importance to us, a proof how much the upper 
surface of the ice had been insensibly wasted by dissolution. 

Lieutenant Hoppner returned, on the evening of the 29th, from his hunting 
excursion to the south-west, bringing with him some game, and what was to 
us much more acceptable, the welcome information that the ice had been 
observed in motion in the offing on the 22d. This circumstance was first 
observed by Messrs. Skene and Fife, who were of Lieutenant Hoppner's 
party, and who were awakened by a loud grinding noise, which, as they 



214 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 



1820. had soon the satisfaction to find, was occasioned by the heavy field-ice setting 
v,*-y-sl/ rapidly to the eastward, at the distance of five miles from the land, and ap- 
parently at the rate of a mile an hour. The wind was at this time moderate, 
but on the preceding day it had blown a fresh northerly gale. 

Lieutenant Hoppner likewise reported that he had, in the course of his 
late excursion, met with a lake between four and five miles in circumference, 
situated at the distance of twelve or fourteen miles to the westward of 
the entrance of Winter Harbour, and four miles from the sea. This lake was 
still frozen over, but, from the nature of the banks, had the appearance of 
being deep ; and it is, probably, the same which Mr. Fife had fallen in with, 
at the time he lost his way in September 1819, and of the situation of which 
he had not been able to give any satisfactory account. 

On the 27th of June, V^'illiam Scott, of whose complaint I have before had 
occasion to speak, had become quite delirious, and could only be kept in bed 
by force. Mr. Edwards was at first in hopes that this was the effect of some 
temporary cause, but was afterwards of opinion that it resembled, in every 
respect, a state of absolute and permanent derangement ; and this opinioi^ 
was subsequently strengthened by some circumstances which only now came 
to our knowledge, and of which an account will be given in another place. 
Frid. 30. For some days past Scott had been gradually growing worse, and on the 
evening of the 29th, he was so far exhausted, that Mr. Edwards did not 
expect him to survive through the night. At two A.M. on the 30th, I was 
informed by that gentleman, that Scott was dying, and before I could get 
my clothes on, he had breathed his last, without any apparent pain. As it 
was proper and desirable, in every respect, that his body should be opened, 
notwithstanding the prejudice which seamen entertain against this practice, 
and which it would, perhaps, be as well to overcome by more frequently 
insisting upon it, I willingly complied Avith Mr. Edwards's request to be 
allowed to perform the dissection. The result was satisfactory to the 
medical gentlemen in whose charge this unfortunate man had been placed ; 
and, I may be permitted to add to myself also, inasmuch as it proved his 
death to have been immediately occasioned by a disease which, perhaps, no 
skill nor attention could have cured in any climate, or under any circumstances, 
and having no immediate connexion with our present peculiar situation, or 
with the nature of the service in which we were engaged. As this case has 
proved the only fatal one during a voyage, differing in many respects from 
any before undertaken, a more particular account of it may not, perhaps, be 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 215 

considered uninteresting; with this view, therefore, as well as from an 1820. 
anxious desire to do justice to the skill and humane attention displayed by v^-y-O 
the medical officers during the whole course of this poor man's illness, I 
have requested Mr. Edwards to furnish me with a detailed statement of his 
case, and of the treatment adopted, which will be found in the Appendix. 

For the last two or three days, the spring-tides, which had been unusually 
high, overflowed the ice near the beach, so as to make it difficult to land 
near high water. In the general appearance of the ice of the harbour, there 
was no very perceptible alteration from day to day, though the thawing 
process was certainly going on with great rapidity at this period. The officer 
who relieved Lieutenant Hoppner, in command of the hunting party to the 
south-west, received strict injunctions to watch the ice constantly, and to 
make an immediate report of any appearance of open water in any direction. 
For the last four or five days in June, we had experienced more of southerly 
winds than usual, the weather being generally cloudy, with a good deal of 
small rain, and now and then a little snow ; the general temperature of the 
atmosphere, however, was pleasant and comfortable to our feelings, as well as 
favourable to the dissolution of the ice, for which we were so anxiously looking. 

One of Mr. Nias's party arrived from the eastward on the morning of the July- 
1st of July, with a good supply of hares, ducks, and ptarmigans ; he had 
seen above fifty deer in three days, but they were too wild to allow the 
party to get near them, in a country without the smallest cover of any kind. 
Another fish was picked up to-day in a hole on the ice, of the same kind as 
those before found. 

On Sunday the 2d of July, after divine service had been performed, the Sun. 2, 
body of the deceased was committed to the earth, on a level piece of ground 
about a hundred yards from the beach, with every solemnity which the 
occasion demanded, and the circumstances of our situation would pennit. 
The ensigns and pendants were lowered half-mast during the procession, 
and the remains of our unfortunate shipmate were attended to the grave by 
every officer and man in both ships. To the performance of this last 
melancholy duty, under any circumstances sufficiently impressive, the 
peculiarity of the scene around us, and of the circumstances in which we 
were placed, could not fail to impart an additional feeling of awful solemnity, 
which it is more easy to imagine than to describe. A neat tomb-stone was 
afterwards placed at the head of the grave by Mr. Fisher, who carved upon 
it the name of the deceased with the other usual information. 



ABSTRACT of the METEOROLOGICAL JOURNAL kept on board His Majesty's Ship Hecla, 






during the Month of June 


, 1820. 




Teraperatiire of Air 
in shade. 


Barometer. 


Prevailing Winds. 


Prevailing Weather. 


Day 


Maxi- 


Mini- 


Mean. 


Maxi- 


Mini- 


Mean. 


1 


o 
+ 40 


o 
+ 31 


+ 36.& 


incbes. 
30.00 


inches. 
;29.88 


inches. 
29.940 


Nb.E. 


Light breezes and cloudy Vfeather. 


2 


36 


,31 


34.17 


30.00 


30.00 


30.000 


to N.W. 


Ditto ditto. 


3 


43 


29 


35.60 


29.98 


29.74 


29.802 


f N. by West to \ 
\ South. j 


Moderate and cloudy. 


4 


39 


31.5 


35.63 


29.70 


29.50 


29.597 


South 


Ditto ditto. 


5 


40 


30 


34.87 


29.58 


29.52 


29.555 


S.b.W. 


Moderate and fine. 


6 


37 


28 


32.17 


29.68 


29.60 


29.642 


S.E. by S. to N.W. 


Moderate and hazy. 


7 


31 


28 


29.63 


29.64 


29.50 


29.553 


N.N.W. 


Ditto ditto. 


8 


36 


28 


32.08 


29.60 


29.55 


29.590 


West. 


Ditto ditto. 


9 


38 


30 


33.92 


29.69 


29.60 


29.638 


W.S.W. to North 


Light breezes with rain at times. 


10 


33 


32 


32.25 


29.73 


29.62 


29.692 


S.E. to E. 


Light airs to strong breezes : contintied snow. 


11 


36 


33 


33.92 


29.84 


29.76 


29.792 


West. 


Fresh breezes and cloudy. 


12 


34 


30 


32.54 


29.94 


29.86 


29.895 


West. 


Moderate and clondy. 


13 


37 


29.5 


33.46 


29.93 


29.75 


29.895 


West. 


Moderate vrith snow and rain. 


14 


S7 


32 


34.75 


29.73 


29.63 


29.700 


S.S.W. to N.N.W. 


Fresh breezes, with squalls and snow. 


15 


39 


29 


34.67 


29.80 


29.74 


29.775 


N.W. 


Moderate and clear. 


16 


37 


29 


33.75 


29.90 


29.85 


29.877 


S.S.E. 


Light breezes and fine. 


17 


43 


30 


34.58 


30.00 


29.90 


29.945 


S.E. 


Ditto ditto. 


IS 


43 


31 


37.33 


30.13 


30.00 


30.062 


S.E. 


Light breezes and fine. ; 


19 


40 


34 


37.67 


30.13 


30.08 


30.112 


North 


Fresh breezes and cloudy. 


39 


39 


34 


36.25 


30.07 


29.97 


30.022 


North 


Ditto ditto. 


21 


42 


35 


38.17 


29.96 


29.93 


29.947 


North 


Strong breezes— fine clear weather. 


22 


51 


36 


44.33 


30.04 


29.94 


30.005 


North. 


Moderate and cloudy. 


23 


45.5 


38 


42.08 


30.00 


29.93 


29.970 


North 


Moderate and fine. 


24 


41 


33 


37.00 


29.94 


29.79 


29.842 


:n.n.w. 


Moderate and cloudy : occasional snow. 


25 


41.5 


34 


37.42 


2930 


29.76 


29.790 


North 


Fresh breezes and cloudy weather. 


26 


47 


33 


40.50 


29.90 


29.81 


^9.852 


N.N.E. toS.W. 


Light breezes and cloudy— small rain. 


27 


43 


36 


39.33 


29.96 


29.87 


29.907 


S.S.W. 


Ditto ditto 


28 


44 


32 


37.17 


129.81 


29.74 


29.785 


S.E. 


Ditto ditto. 


29 


46 


39 


'41.92 


29.79 


29.75 


29.767 


5 North by East to > 
\ South. > 


Ditto ' ditto. 


30 


48 


37 


48;75 


29.80 


29.59 


29.677 


S.S.W. 


Fresh breezes and cloudy. \ 




+ 51 


+ 28 


+ 36.24 


30.13 


29.50 


29.8^ 



VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. ' 217 

A herd of fourteen deer being seen near the ships, a party was despatched in l82o. 
pursuit of them, with our customary want of success, it being almost impossible ^i^J^ 
to approach them in so open and exposed a country, so that these excursions 
generally ended in a chase between the men and the deer ; some good dogs 
would, perhaps,^ have been serviceable to us on these occasions. 

Having taken on board our bower anchors and cables from the beach, Mon. 3. 
on account of the difficulty we should have found in removing them after 
the ice began to break up, each ship placed two stream anchors on shore 
with hawsers from the bow and quarter, to hold them in case of any 
sudden motion of the ice, the pools upon which now increased very 
perceptibly both in depth and extent from day to day. In looking 
into these pools, it always appeared, during the day, as if drops of rain 
were falling into them ; this was caused by the continual extrication of air 
from the ice which was thawing below, and by the rising of the bubbles to 
the surface. At six P.M., the atmosphere being clear and serene, the 
thermometer rose to 53° in the shade, but immediately on a moderate breeze 
springing up from the northward it fell to 45°. On the 5th and 6th, how- 
ever, it stood for three hours from 50° to 52°, with a fresh breeze from 
the northward, accompanied by cloudy weather ; and on the afternoons 
of the two following days, the wind being still northerly, the atmosphere 
continued for some time at the temperature of 55°. 

The dissolution of the ice of the harbour went on so rapidly in the early Thurs.6. 
part of July, that we were greatly surprised, on the 6th, in finding, that in 
several of the pools of water, on its upper surface, holes were washed quite 
through to the sea beneath. On examining several of these, we found that 
the average thickness of the ice, in the upper part of the harbour where the 
ships were lying, did not exceed two feet, which was much less than we had 
any idea of Towards the mouth of the harbour, however, where the water 
was deeper, no such holes made their appearance for some days after this. 
It must here be remarked, that in all cases we found the ice to be first thawed 
and broken up in the shoalest. water, in consequence, I suppose, of the 
greater facility with Avhich the ground, at a small depth below the surface of 
the sea, absorbed and radiated the heat of the sun's rays ; and, as it is in such 
situations that water generally freezes the first, this circumstance seems a 1 
remarkable instance of the provision of nature for maintaining such a balance ' 
in the quantity of ice annually formed and dissolved, as shall prevent any 
undue or extraordinary accumulation of it in any part of the Polar regions of. ; 



218 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. the earth. In consequence of this circumstance, we were now enabled, for 
the first time, to bring our boats down to the beach, so as to allow them 
to float about high water, in order to prevent their being split by the sun, 
while in every other part of the harbour, except thus near the shore, we had 
not the means of doing so till some days afterwards. Among the means^, 
also, which nature employs in these regions to dissolve, during the short 
summer, the ice which has been formed upon the sea by the cold of winter, 
there appears to be none more efficacious than the numerous streams of water 
produced by the melting of the snow upon the land, and which, for a period 
of at least six or seven weeks, even in the climate of Melville Island, are 
constantly discharging themselves into the ocean. On this account, it would 
appear probable, that high land is more favourable to the dissolution and 
dispersion of the ice near its shores than that which is lower, because it 
supplies a never-ceasing flow of water during the whole of the thawing 
season. For instance, on the 1st of September, 1818, we found the stream 
in Possession Bay discharging a torrent of water into the sea, and there was 
still snow enough remaining on the land to keep up an abundant stream, till 
it should be arrested by the frost of winter ; whereas, on these islands, which 
are very low, comparatively with the land about Possession Bay, or in Sir 
James Lancaster's Sound, we found, at the same season, in 1819, and much 
before the thawing had finished, that they were completely free from snow, 
the ravines entirely dry, and the whole face of the islands parched and 
cracked with drought, as if there had been no moisture upon the surface of 
the ground for some time. 

On unhanging the rudders, and hauling them up on the ice for examination, 
we found them a good deal shaken and grazed by the blows they had 
received during the time the ships were beset at the entrance of Davis' 
Strait. We found, also, that the rudder-cases in both ships had been fitted 
too small, occasioning considerable difficulty in getting the rudders down 
when working, a circumstance by no means disadvantageous, (perhaps, indeed, 
rather the contrary,) on ordinary service at sea, but which should be carefully 
avoided in ships intended for the navigation among ice, as it is frequently 
necessary to unship the rudder at a short notice, in order to preserve it from 
injury, as our future experience was soon to teach us. This fault was, 
however, soon remedied, and the rudders again hung, in readiness for sea. 
About this time, a few flocks of looms occasionally made their appearance, 
invariably flying quite round the harbour, exactly over the narrow and only 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 219 

strip of water which I have before described as occurring next the beach, as 1820. 
if looking out for food. "^"'y- 

From the 7th to the 10th, a good deal of rain fell at intervals, which pro- Mon. lo. 
duced a very sensible alteration in the ice, making it look of a blue colour 
all over the surface, and increasing the size and number of the holes in a 
much greater degree than during the same interval at any other period. 
Mr. Reid, Avho returned on the 10th from his hunting-excursion to the 
south-west, reported, however, that he had not, during his absence, per- 
ceived the ice to be in motion, nor was there any perceptible alteration in 
the general mass upon the coast, except in the increase of the number of pools 
upon it, and in the breadth of the little channel between the ice and the 
land. This channel, if so it may be called, when the depth was not yet 
sufficient to float one of our whale-boats, was from forty to fifty yards wide in 
the part of the harbour next us, but much more on the northern and eastern 
sides, where the shoal-water extends to a greater distance from the shore. 
We were in hopes that the spring tides, which took place about the 11th, 
would have been serviceable in breaking up the ice, which now began to 
approach that state of rottenness, as the sailors term it, which made it 
dangerous to walk across the pools, as we had hitherto been accustomed to 
do, to avoid the trouble of going round. No sensible alteration was pro- 
duced, however, by the highest tide ; probably in consequence of the ice 
being already so completely detached from the shore, as to allow it to rise 
freely, and without resistance of any kind, like any other floating body ; the 
height and velocity of the tides are here, indeed, so small, that it was not 
reasonable to expect much from them in this way. 

On the 14th a boat passed, for the first time, between the ships and the Frid. 14. 
shore, in consequence of the junction of a number of the pools and holes in the 
ice, and on the following day the same kind of communication was practicable 
between the ships. It now became necessary, therefore, to provide against 
the possibility of the ships being forced on shore by the total disruption of 
the ice between them and the beach, and the pressure of that without, by 
letting go a bower-anchor underfoot, which was accordingly done as soon as 
there was a hole in the ice under the bows of each, sufficiently large to allow 
tlie anchors to pass through. We had now been quite ready for sea for some 
days ; and a regular and anxious look-out was kept from the crow's nest for 
any alteration in the state of the ice, which might favour our departure from 
Winter Harbour, in which it now became more than probable that we were 



220 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. destined to be detained thus inactively for a part of each month in the 

v.^U^ whole year, as we had reached it in the latter part of September, and were 

likely to be prevented leaving it till after the commencement of August. 

Sun. 16. On the 16th of July the streams of water in the ravines were once more 
passable with great ease, and the snow had entirely disappeared, ex- 
cept on the sides of those ravines, and in other hollows where it had 
formed considerable drifts ; so that the appearance of the land was much the 
same now as when we first made the islands in the latter part of August 
the preceding year. The walks which our people were enabled to take at 
this period, when the weather was really mild and pleasant, and to our 
feelings quite as warm as the summer of any other climate, together with 
the luxurious living afforded by our hunting parties, and by the abundant 
supply of sorrel which was always at command, were the means of completely 
eradicating any seeds of scurvy which might have been lurking in the consti- 
tutions of the officers and men, who were now, I believe, in as good health, 
and certainly in as good spirits, as when the Expedition left England. Gra- 
tifying as this fact could not but be to me, it was impossible to contemplate 
without pain the probability, now too evident, that the shortness of the 
approaching season of operations would not admit of that degree of success in 
the prosecution of the main object of our enterprise, which might otherwise 
have been reasonably anticipated in setting out from our present advanced 
station with two ships in such perfect condition, and with crews so zealous in 
the cause in which we were engaged. 

Moil. 17. From six A.M. till six P.M. on the 17th, the thermometer stood generally 
from 55° to 60°; the latter temperature being the highest which appears in the 
Hecla's Meteorological Journal during this summer. It will readily be con- 
ceived how pleasant such a temperature must have been to our feelings after the 
severe winter which immediately preceded it. The month of July is, indeed, the 
only one which can be called at all comfortable in the climate of Melville Island. 

Tues. 18. On the 18th I rowed round the harbour in a boat, in order to take the 
soundings as far as the ice would permit; when it was worthy of remark how 
exactly the extent of the clear water between the ice and the shore corre- 
sponded with its depth, it being nearly a quarter of a mile wide on the 
north-eastern side of the harbour, where the deepest water was from eight to 
ten feet; while on the western side, where we found two fathoms, the passage 
for the boat did not exceed forty or fifty yards in width. This channel was 
almost daily becoming wider, especially after a strong breeze from any 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 221 

quarter causing a ripple on tlie sea, by whicli tlie edge of the ice was con- 1820. 
stantly washed and rapidly dissolved. My intention, therefore, at this time ,^,!^ 
was, carefully to watch the increasing breadth of this open water; and, 
whenever a depth of three fathoms could be found, to warp the ships through 
it along-shore, as the only means which appeared likely to be allowed us of 
commencing our summer's navigation. 

On the 20th, there being a strong breeze from the N.N.E., with fog andThui. 20. 
rain, all favourable to the dispersion of the ice, that part of it which was 
immediately around the Hecla, and from which she had been artificially de- 
tached so long before, at length separated into pieces, and floated away ; 
carrying with it the collection of ashes and other rubbish which had been 
accumulating for the last ten months ; so that the ship was now once more 
fairly riding at anchor, but with the ice still occupying the whole of the 
centre of the harbour, and within a few yards of her bows : the Griper had 
been set free in a similar manner a few days before. But it was only in that 
part of the harbour where the ships were lying that the ice had yet sepa- 
rated in this manner at so great a distance from the shore ; a circumstance 
probably occasioned by the greater radiation of heat from the ships, and 
from the materials of various kinds which we had occasion to deposit upon the 
ice during the time of our equipment. 

Lieutenant Liddon accompanied me in a boat down the west shore of the 
harbour, to the southern point of the entrance, in order to sound along the 
edge of the ice, where we found from seven to fifteen feet water ; the ice 
about the entrance appeared still very solid and compact, and not a single 
hole was at this time noticed through any of the pools upon its surface, ex- 
cept one which was made by a seal, and which discovered the thickness of the 
ice to be there between two and three feet. 

Mr. Dealey, with a hunting party, returned late at night without success, 
having lost his way in a thick fog, that Jiung over the land at intervals 
during the day, a circumstance which did not often occur while the ships 
remained in harbour : we frequently, however, especially in the month of 
July, perceived heavy fog-banks covering the horizon in the offing, while the 
weather was perfectly clear near the shore. 

On the 21st, Mr. Fife returned from our hunting station twelve or fourteen Frid. 21, 
miles to the south-west, and reported that the appearance of the ice in that 
quarter was much the same as in Winter Harbour, except that the space 
between the ice and the land was in most parts not so broad. 



222 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1«20. There was a fresh breeze from the north-eastward, with fine clear weather^ 

v-^-^w/ on the 22d, which made the Hecla swing round into twenty feet water astern ; 

Sat. 22. and the ice, being now moveable in the harbour, came home towards the 

shore with this wind, but not so much as to put any considerable strain on 

the cable of either ship ; and the holding-ground being excellent, there was 

nothing to apprehend for their security. 

During a walk which I took to the southward this day for the purpose of 
examining the ice near the mouth of the harbour, I was glad to find that a 
quantity of it had lately been forced up on the reef, by the pressure of the 
external ice, a proof that it had some room in which to acquire motion, 
and which encouraged a hope that when the wind should blow directly oflF 
the land, it might drift the ice sufficiently from the shore to afford us a navi- 
gable channel to the westward. I, therefore, went down in a boat in the 
afternoon, to see if any thing could be done, but found the shore so loaded 
with broken ice which a north-east wind had first separated and then drifted 
upon the beach, that I could not get so far as the south point of the entrance. 

Sun. 2a. A fresh gale which blew from the northward, on the morning of the 23d, 
caused a great alteration in the appearance of the ice near the ships, but 
none whatever in that in the offing, or at the mouth of the harbour, except 
that the shores were there more encumbered than before, owing to the 
quantity of pieces which were separated and driven down from the norths- 
ward, so that our small boat could not succeed in getting along the shore. 
The north shore of the harbour was now, however, so clear as to induce me 
to send Lieutenant Beechey, with two boats to haul the seine, in the hope of 
catching some such fish as we had some time ago found upon the ice. Our 
fishermen, however, had little success, having brought on board only three 
small fish, which were all that were found in the net. ^ 

Mon. 24. On the 24th, the sails were bent, in readiness for our starting at a moment's 
notice, though, it must be confessed, that the motive for doing so was to 
make some show of moving, rather than any expectation which I dared to 
entertain of soon escaping from our long and tedious confinement ; for it was 
impossible to conceal from the men the painful fact, that, in eight or nine 
weeks from this period, the navigable season must unavoidably come to a 
conclusion. 

Tues. 25. I went away in a boat early on the morning of the 25th, in order to soun^ 
the harbour, in those parts where the ice would admit the boat, with a viei 
to take advantage of the first favourable change which might present itsell 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 223 

The wind having come round to the southward in the afternoon, caused 
the separation of a large portion of ice on the northern side of that which 
now occupied the harbour, and the detached pieces drifting down towards us, 
rendered it necessary to be on our guard lest the ships should be forced from 
their anchorage. On this account, as well as from an anxious and impatient 
desire to make a move, however trifling, from a spot in which we had 
now unwillingly but unavoidably passed nearly ten months, and of which 
we had long been heartily tired, I directed lines to be run out for the pur- 
pose of warping the ships along the ice in the centre of the harbour, and at 
half-past two P.M., the anchors were weighed. As soon as a strain Avas 
put upon the lines, however, we found that the ice to which they were 
attached came home upon us, instead of the ships being drawn out to the 
southward, and we were, therefore, obliged to have recourse to the kedge- 
anchors, which we could scarcely find room to drop, on account of the 
closeness of the ice. Having warped a little way out from the shore, into 
five fathoms and a half, it was found impossible to proceed any farther 
without a change of wind, and the anchors were, therefore, dropped till 
such a change should take place. In the course of the evening all the loose 
ice drifted past us to the northward, loading that shore of the harbour with 
innumerable fragments of it, and leaving a considerable space of clear 
water along shore to the southward. Our hunting parties were now recalled, 
and returned on board in good health in the course of this and the following 
day ; having supplied us, during the whole time which this mode had been 
adopted, with a quantity of game sufficient to substitute for more than one 
month's established proportion of meat on board both ships. Their success 
had of late, however, become very indifferent, as they had not seen a deer 
for several days, and the birds were grown extremely shy. A herd of 
seven musk-oixen had lately been met with to the south-west. 

On the morning of the 26th, it was nearly calm, with continued rain and Wed. 26. 
thick weather ; and there being now a space of clear water for nearly three 
quarters of a mile to the southward of us, we took advantage of a breeze which 
sprung up from the northward to weigh, at nine A.M. and run down as far as the 
ice would permit, and then dropped our anchors in the best births we could 
select, close to the edge of it, with the intention of advancing step by step, 
as it continued to separate by piece-meal. The ice across the entrance of 
the harbour as far as this spot, and the whole of that in the offing, of which 
we had here a commanding view from the Hecla's crow's-nest, was still 



mi) VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. quite continuous and unbroken, with the same appearance of solidity as it 
d^X^ had during the middle of winter, except that the pools of water were numerous 
upon its surface. 

Thur. 27. On the 27th, the weather was clear and fine, with a strong and rather 
cold wind from the W.N.W., the thermometer not being higher than 37° 
during the day. The general temperature of the atmosphere had, indeed, 
before this time, begun very sensibly to decrease, and from this period the 
thermometer seldom stood so high as 40° in the shade during the rest of 
the summer. Some showers of sleet and snow prevented our sending the 
people on shore to pick sorrel, as they had been accustomed to do for some 
weeks past ; this valuable plant was now on the decline, the leaves begin- 
ning to wither, and having much less of that acid taste, which constitutes its 
principal value. 

Frid. 28. On the morning of the 28th, the wind, having shifted to the southward, 
was found to set the ice (close to the edge of which the Hecla had anchored) 
against the cable, putting some strain upon it in addition to that of the ship. 
We veered, therefore, to thirty fathoms, to enable the anchor to hold the 
better, and ranged the other cable. At half-past eight A.M. I rowed along- 
shore to the southward in a boat as far as the ice would allow us to go, which, 
however, was not a single yard beyond where Lieutenant Liddon and myself 
had gone, with almost equal facility, eight days before. I then landed, and 
walked about two miles to the southward, where I had a clear view for several 
miles in that direction. The space between the ice and the land between 
the entrance of Winter Harbour and Cape Hearne was so small that a boat 
could not possibly have gone that distance, even if the passage out of the 
harbour had been clear. The only appearance of the breaking up of the ice 
consisted in a quantity of it having been recently pressed up into hummocks 
in some places near the beach ; but, upon the whole, I was compelled to 
admit, in my own mind, that there never was a sea which appeared less 
navigable. On my return, I perceived that our people were busy in the boats, 
and found when I got on board, that the Hecla had been forced by the ice into 
thirteen feet water abaft, the whole body having come home upon the cable, 
so as to drag the anchor. Lieutenant Beechey had, with great promptness, 
cut a bight or dock in the ice, and dropped the kedge in the middle of it, by 
which means he had, before my return on board, succeeded in getting the 
ship once more into four fathoms ; and the small bower being then hove up, 
she was hauled out into seven fathoms, and the other anchor let go, after 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 295 

which we lay quite securely, the wind freshening up strong from the westward 1820. 
at night, which kept the ice at a sufficient distance from us. \^!^ 

In the mean time Lieutenant Liddon had sent me word that the Griper, S«'- 29- 
which had taken her birth to the southward of ours, was not in a much more 
secure situation than that from which the Hecla had just escaped, the ice 
pressing forcibly upon her cable at times, so as to endanger her being forced 
on shore by it. Lieutenant Liddon very prudently, therefore, unshipped his 
rudder, and otherwise prepared his ship in the best manner he could fo*' 
taking the beach, which is here tolerably bold, and quite soft and muddy. 
Happily, however, the westerly wind, which shortly after sprung up, prevented 
any accident of this nature. 

Many of the pools of water upon the ice were slightly frozen over during Sun. 30. 
the night, which had seldom been the case for several weeks before, but which 
now took place almost every night for the rest of the season, as soon as the 
sun had become low. At three P.M. another large portion of the ice near us 
detached itself from the main-body, and floated away to the eastward, leaving 
us a space of three or four hundred yards in extent clear all round the ship, 
of which circumstance we immediately took advantage to weigh the anchor, 
and shift our birth further from the shore. 

The wind continued fresh from the W.S.W., and at half-past seven P.M. I 
was informed by Mr. Palmer that a separation of the ice had just taken place 
in the offing, which, on going into the crow's nest, I found to consist of a 
lane of clear water, narrow and not altogether continuous, lying in a directioa 
nearly parallel to that of the coast, and about three miles distant from it, 
being probably the boundary of the last winter's ice. From the outer point 
of the reef of Winter Harbour a crack commenced, and could be traced, at 
intervals, till it appeared to join the line of separation before described ; the 
ice across the mouth of the harbour remained perfectly compact and unbroken, 
so that we could still do nothing but watch the progress of the operation 
which seemed at length to have commenced in earnest. 

The wind being from the S.S.W. during the night, served to close the lane Mon. 31. 
of water which had appeared in the offing the preceding day, which we con- 
sidered a favourable circumstance, as shewing that the external mass of ice 
was in motion. In the course of the day, the wind shifting to the W.N.W., 
we once more discovered a small opening between the old and young floes, and 
at eleven P.M., the whole body of the ice in the harbour was perceived to be 
moving slowly out to the south-eastward, breaking away, for the first time. 



226 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERy 

1820. at the points which form the entrance of the harbour. This sudden and 
v^lj^ unexpected change rendering it probable that we should at length be re- 
leased, I sent to Captain Sabine, who had been desirous of continuing his 
observations on the pendulum to the last moment, to request he would 
have the clocks ready for embarkation at an early hour in the morning. 

I furnished Lieutenant Liddon with instructions for his future guidance during 
the ensuing season of operations, appointing also certain places of rendez- 
vous, to facilitate our meeting, in case of unavoidable separation during that 
period. I sent also on board the Griper, in compliance with my Instructions 
on that head, a chart of our late discoveries, together with a duplicate copy 
of every document of interest relating to the Expedition. 

The latitude of the anchorage in Winter Harbour, by the mean of 
thirty-nine meridian altitudes, is - - 74° 47' 19".36 N. 

The longitude, by the mean of six hundred and 
ninety-two sets of observations, consisting of six thou- 
sand eight hundred and sixty-two lunar distances - 110° 48' 29".2 W. 

The dip of the magnetic needle 88° 43' N. 

The variation - - - - - 127° 47' 50" E. 

The mean time of high water, on the full and change days of the 
moon, ---1 hour 29 minutes. 

!May - - - 2 feet 6^ inches. 
June - - - 2 „ 7 
July - - - 2 „ 81. 




ni/'/L'/ic;i M'.^'/m Mimii AWmuirl,- SlnvtLmdmMujrli iSl. 



ABSTRACT of the METEOROLOGICAL JOURNAL kept on board His Majesty's Ship Hecla, 








during the Month of July 


, 1820. 


Day 


Temperature of Air 
in shade. 


Barometer. 


Prevailing Winds. 


Prevailing Weather. 


1 


Maxi- 


Mini- 


Mean. 


Maxi. 
mum. 


Mini. 


Mean. 


o 
+ 44 


o 
+ 36 


+ 40.58 


inches. 
29.60 


inches. 
29.56 


inches. 
29.578 


North. 


Fresh breezes and cloudy. 


2 


45 


36 


40..50 


29.70 


29.62 


29.657 


N.N.E. 


Ditto ditto.' 


3 


53 


34 


43.83 


29.73 


29.71 


29.720 


North. 


Light breezes and cloudy. 


4 


45 


37 


39.83 


29.77 


29.73 


29.747 


North. 


Strong breezes— squalls occasionally. 


5 


52 


37 


44.33 


29.83 


29.75 


29.775 


North. 


Moderate and cloudy. 


6 


51 


43 


47.67 


29.83 


29.75 


29.787 


North. 


Fresh breezes and cloudy. 


7 


55 


41 


47.42 


29.90 


29.83 


29.863 


North. 


Moderate and fine. 


8 


55 


43 


48.75 


29.90 


29.86 


29.882 


N.N.W. 


Ditto ditto. 


9 


49 


40 


43.58 


30.01 


29.77 


29.903 


South. 


Freshibreezes — occasional rain. 


10 


48 


41 


45.67 


29.83 


29.70 


29.765 


South. 


Ditto ditto. 


11 


49 


43 


43.33 


29.90 


29.80 


29.845 


N.W. 


Moderate and cloudy. 


12 


49 


40 


43.75 


29.80 


29.78 


29.797 


W.N.W. 


Moderate with rain. 


13 


55 


40 


46.00 


29.82 


29.76 


29.790 


N. by W. to N.N.W. 


Ditto ditto. 


14 


56 


32 


48.25 


29.76 


29.66 


29.720 


!; .S.W. 


From light to strong breezes. 


15 


47 


38 


43.00 


29.79 


29.68 


29.710 


South. 


Moderate and fine. 


16 


49 


36.5 


42.87 


29.76 


29.72 


29.753 


S.S.E. 


Light airs and fine clear weather. 


17 


CO 


41 


51.08 


2Q.81 


29.75 


29.790 


North. 


Ditto ditto. 


18 


48 


34 


43.12 


29.84 


29.69 


29.788 


S.S.E. 


Light airs, and fine clear weather. 


19 


50 


36 


43.17 


29.75 


29.69 


29.723 


S.E. 


Light airs and hazy. 


20 


43 


38 


40.50 


20.70 


29.60 


29.023 


N.N.E. 


Light airs with rain. 


21 


45 


33 


40.33 


29.64 


29.00 


29.623 


N. byE. 


Fresh breezes and cloudy. 


22 


50 


37 


45.01 


29.69 


29.66 


29.675 


N.N.E. 


Ditto ditto. 


23 


43 


34 


39.17 


29.70 


29.67 


29.090 


North. 


Ditto ditto. 


24 


49 


36 


41.83 


29.71 


29.60 


29.678 


South. 


Moderate and fine. 


25 


50 


35.5 


43.58 


29.59 


29.31 


29.453 


E.by N. toS.W. 


Light breezes and fine. 


26 


42 


34 


36.92 


29.27 


29.13 


29.175 


W.N.W. 


Fresh breezes and cloudy— snow and rain. 


27 


37 


32.5 


34.07 


29.44 


29.26 


29.387 


W.N.W. 


Ditto < (. 


28 


42 


34 


37.29 


29.39 


29.30 


29.335 


Round compass. 


Light airs and cloudy. 


29 


38 


32 


34.58 


29.52 


29.34 


29.452 


S.W. 


Fresh breezes and cloudy : hail and snow. 


30 


42 


32 


37.25 


20.55 


29.52 


29.555 


S.S.W.toWest. 


Moderate and cloudy : hail and sleet. 


31 


40 


S4.5 


36.96 


29.52 


29.44 


29.187 


C S.S.W. to ) 
I W.N.W. S 


Fresh breezes and cloudy : snow and rain. 


+ 60 


+ 32 


+ 42.41 


30.01 


29.13 


29.668 



VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 



CHAPTER X. 

LEAVE WINTER HARBOUR— FLATTERING APPEARANCE OF THE SEA TO THE 

WESTWARD— STOPPED BY THE ICE NEAR CAPE HAY FURTHER PROGRESS 

TO THE LONGITUDE OF 113° 48' 22.5, BEING THE WESTERNMOST 
MERIDIAN HITHERTO REACHED IN THE POLAR SEA, TO THE NORTH OF 
AMERICA — BANKS'S LAND DISCOVERED — INCREASED EXTENT AND DIMEN- 
SIONS OF THE ICE — RETURN TO THE EASTWARD, TO ENDEAVOUR TO 
PENETRATE THE ICE TO THE SOUTHWARD — DISCOVERY OF SEVERAL 
ISLANDS — RE-ENTER BARROWS STRAIT, AND SURVEY ITS SOUTH COAST 

PASS THROUGH SIR JAMES LANCASTER'S SOUND, ON OUR RETURN 

TO ENGLAND. 

August. I HE wind still blowing fresh from the northward and westward, the ice 
^tT"^] continued to drift out slowly from the harbour, till, at eight A.M., it had left 
the whole space between the ships and Cape Hearne completely clear, 
and at eleven o'clock there appeared to be water round the hummocks of 
ice which lie aground off that point. In the mean time, our boats were 
employed in embarking the clocks, tents, and observatory, while I sounded 
the entrance of the harbour, in order to complete the survey, which no 
opportunity had offered of doing before this time. At one P.M., having got 
every thing on board, and the ice appearing to be still leaving the shore, we 
weighed, and ran out of Winter Harbour, in which we had actually, as 
had some time before been predicted, passed ten whole months, and a part of 
the two remaining ones, September and August. The mind is always anxious, 
however, to find some ground of encouragement and hope for attaining the 
object of its pursuit, and we did not fail to remember, on this occasion, that 
• short as our season of navigation must of necessity be, we were about to 
begin that season on the anniversary of the day on which we had commenced 



t)F A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 229 

our discoveries from the entrance of Sir James Lancaster's Sound westward, 18'20. 
in the preceding year ; and that if we were favoured with the same degree of ^XJ 
success during the same period as before, there could be little doubt of the 
eventual accomplishment of our enterprise. 

In running along shore towards Cape Ilearne, generally at the distance of 
half a mile from the land, we had from ten to sixteen fathoms' water, and 
rounded the hummocks off the point in six and a half fathoms by three P.M. 
As we opened the point, it was pleasing to see that the coast to the west- 
ward of it was more clear of ice, (excepting the loose pieces which lay 
scattered about in every direction, but which would not very materially 
have impeded the navigation with a fair wind,) than it had been when we first 
arrived off it, a month later in the foregoing year; the main ice having 
been blown off by the late westerly and north-westerly winds, to the distance 
of four or five miles from the shore, which, from all we have seen on this 
part of the coast, appears to be its utmost limit. The navigable channel, with 
a beating wind between the ice and the land, was here from one to two 
or two miles and a half in width, and this seemed, from the mast-head, to con- 
tinue as far as the eye could reach along-shore to the westward. 

3Ve found the wind much more westerly after we rounded the point, which 
made our progress slow and tedious ; the more so, as we had every minute 
to luff for one piece of ice, and to bear up for another, by which much 
ground was unavoidably lost. We also found the ships to be considerably 
impeded by a tide or current setting to the eastward, which, as it slackened 
about seven in the evening, I considered to be the flood, the time of higli 
water at Winter Harbour this day being about half-past seven. After a 
very few tacks, we had the mortification to perceive, that the Griper sailed 
and worked much Avorse than before, notwithstanding every endeavour 
which Lieutenant Liddon had been anxiously making during her re-equip-, 
ment, to improve those qualities in which she had been found deficient. 
She missed stays several times in the course of the evening, with smooth 
water, and a fine working breeze ; and, by midnight, the Hecla had gained 
eight miles to windward of her, which obliged me to heave-to, notwith- 
standing the increased width of the navigable channel, the weather having 
become hazy, so as to endanger our parting company. 

At three A.M., on the 2d, the Griper having joined us, we again made Wed. -2. 
sail to the westward. As, however, I could not but consider that her bad 
sailing had already lost us a distance of at least seven miles in the first day 



230 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. after our leaving harbour ; and, as it was evident that such detention must, 
, s.^Sr^ if continued, absolutely preclude the possibility of accomplishing the main 
object of the Expedition, I addressed a letter to Lieutenant Liddon, de- 
siring to be made acquainted with all the circumstances of the Griper's 
incapacity, that immediate steps might be taken, either for nproving 
her trim by any means in our power, or, in the event of failing to do so, 
for removing her crew and provisions to the Hecla, and prosecuting the 
voyage in that ship singly. 

During the whole forenoon of the 2d, we observed a well-defined line of 
ripple, at the distance of two or three miles from the land, and a few hun- 
dred yards from the edge of the ice, running parallel to the shore. We 
tried the current about noon, by the small boat moored to the bottom, on 
each side of this ripple ; and found that outside, or to the southward of it, 
it was running to the eastward at the rate of one mile per hour, while within 
it, no current was perceptible. Our latitude, at noon, by an indifferent 
observation, was 74'' 36' 33", and the longitude by account 110° 59', being in 
forty-nine fathoms' water, on a bottom of blue clay. 

Soon after noon, a breeze sprung up from the S.S.W., which being rather 
upon the shore, made it likely that the ice would soon begin to close it ; we, 
therefore, began to look out for a situation where the ships might be se- 
cured in-shore, behind some of the heavy grounded ice, which had so often 
before afforded us shelter under similar circumstances. At one o'clock, we 
perceived that a heavy floe had already closed completely in with the land, 
at a point a little to the westward of us, preventing all hope of further 
progress for the present in that direction. A boat was, therefore, sent to 
examine the ice in-shore, and a favourable place having been found for 
our purpose, the ships Avere hauled in, and secured there, the Griper's 
bow resting on the beach, in order to allow the Hecla to lie in security 
without her. This place was so completely sheltered from the access of the 
main body of the ice, that I began to think seriously of taking advantage of 
this situation to remove the Griper's crew on board the Hecla, and had con- 
sulted the officers upon the subject. The circumstances, however, which 
subsequently occurred, rendering such a measure inexpedient, because no 
longer necessary to the accomplishment of the object in view, by which^ 
alone it could be justified, I was induced to give it up, adopting the besiS 
means in our power to remedy the evil in question. 

The beach near which we were lying is so bold, that, in standing ofE^ 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 231 

and-on in the afternoon, in more than one part, we had from seven to ten 18-26. 
fathoms at two hundred yards from the shore ; to which distance, from the Jr^^" 
confidence we had acquired in the regularity of the soundings, we had no 
hesitation in standing as often as there was occasion to do so, and always 
without ar.:.' apparent risk. So perfectly free from danger, indeed, is the 
whole of 'lis coast, as long as the hand-leads are kept going, that it has 
often occurred to me as not improbable, that the annual motion of large and 
heavy masses of ice may in some degree prevent the accumulation of sandy 
shoals near the shore, where local circumstances might otherwise tend to 
produce them, as in other seas. 

Shortly after our anchoring, the Griper's people heard the growling of a 
bear among the ice near them, but the animal did not appear ; and this was 
the only instance of our meeting with a bear, during our stay at Melville 
Island, except that which followed one of our men to the ships, soon after 
our arrival in Winter Harbour. Both crews were sent on shore to pick 
sorrel, which was here not less abundant than at our old quarters, but it was 
now almost too old to be palatable, having nearly lost its acidity and juice. 
We were here a mile or two to the westward of Lieutenant Hoppner's 
hunting-station, and the wall which he had built round his tents, with a 
boarding-pike in the middle of it, was visible from the ships. The only 
game we obtained here consisted of a few king-ducks, some of the young of 
which were also procured. 

The snow which fell in the night was, in the morning of the 3d, sue- Thurs. 3. 
ceeded by a thick fog, which continued during the day, preventing our seeing 
the state of the ice to the westward. I, therefore, despatched Mr. Palmer in 
a boat to the point, for the purpose of ascertaining whether it was still close 
there. On his return in an hour, Mr. Palmer reported that no alteration had 
taken place since the preceding day, there not being sufficient room for the 
smallest boat to pass between the ice and the point, close to which he found 
a depth of nine fathoms. At night the wind got round to W.N.W., and after- 
wards to north, which made the weather clear, and gave us hopes of the ice 
drifting off the land. 

At one A.M. on the 4ith, the loose ice was observed to be drifting in upon 
us, the wind having veered to the eastward of north ; and soon after a 
floe, of not less than five miles in length, and a mile and a half across, was 
found to be approaching the shore at a quick rate. The ships were imme- 
diately hauled as near the shore as possible, and preparation made for un- 



'232 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1S20. shipping the rudders, if necessary. The floe was brought up, however, by 
\,*4-vy the masses of ice a-ground outside of us, with which it successively came in 
contact, and the ships remained in perfect security ; the floe, as usual after 
the first violence is over, moved oflF again to a little distance from the shore. 
•The meridian altitude of the sun gave the latitude of this station 74° 36' 06", 
and the longitude by the chronometers was 111° 16' 39". 

At noon the heavy floe at the point near us began to quit the land, and 
at half-past one P.M., there being a narrow passage between them, the 
breadth of which the breeze was constantly increasing, we cast off and 
stretched to the westward. The channel which opened to us as we pro- 
ceeded, varied in its general breadth from one to two miles ; in some places 
it was not more than half a mile. The soundings were very regular, and 
sufficiently deep close to the shore ; in one place we found twenty-three 
fathoms at one hundred yards from the beach, in another fourteen at sixty 
or seventy yards. At seven P.M., we passed the place where we had been 
detained so long during the preceding September, and where Mr. Fife and 
his party had been lost. We here seemed to be among our old acquaintance ; 
and among these, the berg to which we had been anchored during so many 
days of anxiety and fruitless labour was easily recognised, as well as the pile of 
stones which had been erected on the hill above it. The wind was variable 
and squally, but we made great progress along the land to the S.W.b.W., and 
the Griper, by keeping up tolerably with the Hecla, in some measure re- 
deemed her character with us. Having arrived off' Cape Providence at eleven 
P.M., the wind became light and baffling, so that we had just got far enough 
to see that there was a free and open channel, beyond the westernmost 
point visible of Melville Island, when our progress was almost entirely 
stopped for want of a breeze to enable us to take advantage of it. The 
anxiety which such a detention occasions, in a sea where, without any ap- 
parent cause, the ice frequently closes the shore in the most sudden manner, 
can perhaps only be conceived by those who have experienced it. We had 
now, also, arrived off" that part of the coast which, from Cape Providence 
westward, is high and steep near the sea, having no beach or shelving shore 
on which the heavy masses of ice can fix themselves, so as to afford security 
to a ship when the floes approach the land, which circumstance increased 
the anxiety we felt to push on, while the present opportunity offered^ 
^ith all rapidity to the westward. We remarked, in sailing near the ice 
this evening, while the wind was blowing a fresh breeze off the land, 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 233 

and therefore directly towards the ice, that it remained constantly calm 1820. 
within three or four hundred yards of the latter ; this effect I never remember ^^^I!^' 
to have witnessed before, upon the windward side of any collection of ice, 
though it invariably happens in a remarkable degree to leeward of it. I may 
here mention, as a striking proof of the accuracy with which astronomical 
bearings of objects may be taken for marine surveys, that the relative bearing 
of Capes Providence and Hay, as obtained this evening when the two head- 
lands were opening, (being s.} 82° 38'{w,,) differed only one minute from 
that entered in the surveying-book, and found in the same manner, the pre- 
ceding year. 

We had this evening occasion to observe once more that darkness in the 
horizon to the southward, and as far as a S.S.W. bearing, which had been 
noticed from this station in 1819, and more frequently since that time, during 
our detention in Winter Harbour, as bearing a great resemblance to the loom 
of land in that quarter. We were the more inclined to the belief that there 
was land at no very great distance to the southward, from the conviction that 
there must be something which prevented the ice being drifted off the shore 
of Melville Islarfd in this place more than five or six miles, with any direction 
or force of wind. 

There was a very light air on the morning of the 5th, which died away an Sat. 5. 
hour before noon, when the opportunity was taken to bring up some Avater 
from the depth of one hundred and five fathoms. Its temperature on coming 
to the surface was 32°, that of the surface water being 31°^, and of the air 34i°. 
The depth of water here was two hundred and twenty-five fathoms, on a 
bottom of dark brown clay, at the distance of four miles from the land ; the 
latitude observed being 74° 21' 49", and the longitude by chronometers 
112° 48' 18". 

At one P.M., the weather continuing quite calm, and being desirous of 
examining the ice in-shore, that we might be ready for the floes closing 
upon us, 1 left the ship, accompanied by Captain Sabine and Mr. Edwards, 
and landed near one of the numerous deep and broad ravines, with which 
the whole of this part of the island is indented. All the ice which was here 
fixed to the ground was literally upon the beach, with very deep water close 
alongside of it, and none of the masses projected to a sufficient distance 
from the shore, to afford the smallest shelter to the ships in case of accidents. 
We saw several white hares here, and on this and many subsequent occasions 
found them frequent the sides of the high banks which face the south, and 



234 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. where there is usually a plentiful vegetation for them to feed upon. We 
v.*^-s^' were ascending the hill, which was found by trigonometrical measurement 
to be eight hundred and forty-seven feet above the level of the sea, and on 
which Ave found no mineral production but sandstone and clay iron-stone, 
when a breeze sprung up from the eastward, bringing up the Griper Avhich 
had been left several miles astern. We only stopped, therefore, to obtain 
observations for the longitude and the variation of the magnetic needle ; the 
former of which was 112° 53' 32", and the latter 110° 56' 11" Easterly, and 
then immediately returned on board, and made all sail to the westward. 
After running for two hours without obstruction, we were once more mortified 
in perceiving that the ice, in very extensive and unusually heavy floes, closed 
in with the land a little to the westward of Cape Hay, and our channel of 
clear water between the ice and the land gradually diminished in breadth 
till at length it became necessary to take in the studding sails, and to haul 
to the wind, to look about us. I immediately left the ship, and went in a 
boat to examine the grounded ice off a small point of land, such as always 
occurs on this coast at the outlet of each ravine. I found that this point 
offered the only possible shelter which could be obtained, in case of the ice 
coming in ; and I, tlierefore, determined to take the Hecla in-shore immedi- 
ately, and to pick out the best birth which circumstances would admit. As I 
was returning on board with this intention I found that the ice was already 
rapidly approaching the shore ; no time was to be lost, therefore, in getting 
the Hecla to her intended station, which was effected by half-past eight P.M., 
being in nine to seven fathoms water, at the distance of twenty yards from 
the beach, which was lined all round the point with very heavy masses 
of ice, that had been forced by some tremendous pressure into the ground. 
Our situation was a dangerous one, having no shelter from ice coming 
from the westward, the whole of which, being distant from us less than half 
a mile, was composed of floes infinitely more heavy than any we had else- 
where met with during the voyage. The Griper was three or four miles 
astern of us at the time the ice began to close, and I therefore directed 
Lieutenant Liddon by signal to secure his ship in the best manner he could, 
without a,ttempting to join the Hecla ; he accordingly made her fast at 
eleven P.M., near a point like that at which we were lying, and two or three 
miles to the eastward. 

At the time of making the Hecla fast, a currejit was setting to the west- 
ward, at the rate of a mile and a half an hour, with a strong eddy running 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 235 

into the bight where we lay; at ten P.M. it took a sudden turn, all the loose 1820. 
ice near us running past the ship out of the bight, and the floes outside ■'^"S"*'^- 
beginning to set to the eastward, and towards the land withal. We, therefore, 
hauled the ship still more into the bight formed by the point, getting her into 
four fathoms abaft and six forward, and abreast a part of the beach where there 
was not quite so much heavy ice within us, to endanger the ship being 
crushed. This was done from a belief that, if the floes came in, the ship 
must inevitably be " nipped," and in this case it was better to be lying in 
six fathoms than nine ; besides, the masses of ice now inside of us, not 
being so large as the rest, might possibly be forced up on the shore before 
the ship, instead of offering so great a resistance as to expose her to all the 
force of the squeeze. On the whole of this steep coast, wherever we 
approached the shore, we found a thick stratum of blue and solid ice, firmly 
embedded in the beach, at the depth of from six to ten feet under the surface 
of the water. This ice has probably been the lower part of heavy masses 
forced aground by the pressure of the floes from without, and still adhering 
to the viscous mud of which the beach is composed, after the upper part has, 
in course of time, dissolved. Captain Sabine suggested, that the under- 
ground ice found in cold countries, and to which I have before alluded, might 
thus have been deposited. The land gains upon the sea, as it is called, in 
process of time, as it has certainly done here, from the situation in which we 
found drift-wood and the skeletons of whales : the ice which fixes itself upon 
the beach is annually covered over in part by alluvial deposit, and thus may 
a connected stratum of it be buried for ages several feet below the surface of 
the earth. From the tops of the hills in this part of Melville Island a conti- 
nuous line of this sub-marine ice could be distinctly traced for miles along 
the coast. 

In running along the shore this evening, we had noticed near the sea what 
at a distance had every appearance of a high wall artificially built, and which 
was the resort of numerous birds. Captain Sabine, being desirous to examine 
it, as well as to procure some specimens of the birds, set out, as soon as we 
anchored, for that purpose, accompanied by his servant and Serjeant Martin. 
The wall proved to be composed of sand-stone in horizontal strata from 
twenty to thiily feet in height, which had been left standing, so as to exhibit 
its present artificial appearance, by the decomposition of the rock and earth 
about it. Large flocks of glaucous gulls had chosen this as a secure retreat 
from the foxes, and every other enemy but man ; and when our people first 



236 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1S20. went into the ravine in which it stands, they were so fierce in defence of 
^^i^!i^" their young, that it was scarcely safe to approach them till a few shots had 

been fired. 
Sun. 6. Besides a number of gulls, Captain Sabine and his party brought with 
them ten hares, which, together with what we had obtained as we came 
along the land, furnished us with a fresh meal for the whole crew. Captain 
Sabine also brought me word from Lieutenant Liddon that the Griper was in 
a situation exactly similar to that of the Hecla, where " nipping" appeared 
unavoidable if the floes should come in. The ice remained quiet, however, 
about the Hecla during the day, even though a strong breeze freshened 
up from the E.S.E., with continued snow; a circumstance which, while it 
added to our present security, did not give us very flattering hopes that there 
could be any room for the ice to drift to the westward. In the course of the 
evening I heard again from the Griper, Lieutenant Liddon informing me that 
the floes had once come in towards her, so as to lift her two feet out of 
the water, and then retired without doing any damage. I acquainted 
Lieutenant Liddon with the similarity of our situation to his, and desired 
him not to join us at present, even should the ice open sufficiently to allow 
him to do so ; for there was not room for the two ships where the Hecla was 
lying, and the chances of saving one of them from the catastrophe we had 
reason to apprehend, were greater by their being separate. At eleven P.M. a 
narrow Ian* of water opened near the Griper, extending about three miles to 
the S.S.W. ; near us it had also slackened a little about midnight, but it would 
have been difficult to find a " hole" of water in which a boat could have floated, 
more than three hundred yards beyond the ship. 
Mon. 7. On the morning of the 7th, a black whale (Balcena Mysticetus), came up,, 
close to the Hecla, being the first we had seen since the 22d of August theJ 
preceding year, about the longitude of 91°| W. ; it therefore acquired among, 
us the distinctive appellation of th& whale. Since leaving Winter Harbourjt 
we had also, on two or three occasions, seen a solitary seal. The wind con-.^ 
tinned fresh from the east and E.N.E. in the morning, and the loose ice came ■ 
close in upon us, but the main body remained stationary at the distance of 
nearly half a mile. Considering that it might be of service to know theii 
state of the ice further to the south and west than the view from the Hecla'S( 
mast-head would allow us, I despatched Lieutenant Beechey with oneij 
of the marines, along the top of the hills to the westward, for that pur-'j 
pose. At two P.M., he returned with a fawn, which gave us thirty-eightjj 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 237 

pounds of venison, and with the information of having discovered land from 1820. 
W.S.W. to S.S.W. at a great distance, and the loom of it also extending as ■^)^!i^' 
far round to the eastward as a S.E. bearing. Lieutenant Beechey con- 
sidered the general distance of the land to be from forty to fifty miles, the 
nearest being about a S.S.W. bearing, and three capes could be plainly dis- 
tinguished with a glass. The report of the state of the ice was by no means 
favourable to our hopes, the sea being covered with floes as far as the eye 
could reach, and the space between them so filled with broken ice, or the 
floes so closely joined, that scarcely a " hole" of water was to be seen. 

In the afternoon, a man from each mess was sent on shore to pick sorrel, 
which was here remarkably fine and large, as well as more acid than any we 
had lately met with. The shelter from the northerly winds, afforded by the 
high land on this part of the coast, together with its southern aspect, renders 
the vegetation here immediately next the sea much more luxuriant than in 
most parts of Melville Island which we visited ; and a considerable addition 
was made to our collection of plants, of which an account is given in 
another place. 

The easterly breeze died away in the course of the day, and at three 
P.M., was succeeded by a light air from the opposite quarter; and as this 
freshened up a little, the loose ice began to drift into our bight, and 
that on the eastern side of the point to drive off. It became expedient, 
therefore, immediately to shift the ship round the point, where she was made 
fast in four fathoms abaft, and seventeen feet forward, close alongside the 
usual ledge of submarine ice, which touched her about seven feet under 
water, and which, having few of the heavy masses aground upon it, 
would, probably, have allowed her to be pushed over it, had a heavy 
pressure occurred from without. It was the more necessary to moor the ship 
in some such situation, as we found from six to seven fathoms' water, by 
dropping the hand-lead down close to her bow and quarter on the outer 
side. 

We had scarcely secured the ship, when the wind once more shifted to ' 
the eastward, and the loose ice almost immediately began to move back in 
the opposite direction. The wind being, however, rather off the land than 
otherwise, I preferred remaining in our present situation, on account of 
tlie safer beach which we found here ; and a& there was, in other respects, 
\ht\e or no choice betwixt the two places, unless the wind came more on the 
land. At half-past ten P.M., the loose ice began to fill up the small space which 



238 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

had hitherto been clear about the ship, although the wind was at N.E., 
which is more off the land than we had before experienced it. Several 
heavy pieces of floes drove close past us, not less than ten or fifteen feet in 
thickness, but they were fortunately stopped by the point of land without 
coming in upon us. At eleven o'clock, however, a mass of this kind, 
being about half an acre in extent, drove in, and gave the ship a consider- 
able " nip" between it and the land-ice, and then grazed past her to the 
westward. I now directed the rudder to be unhung, and the ship to be 
swung with her head to the eastward, so that the bow, being the strongest 
part, might receive the first and heaviest pressure. 
Tues. 8. The ice did not disturb us again till five A.M. on the 8th, when another 
floe-piece came in, and gave the ship a heavy rub, and then went past, after 
which it continued slack about us for several hours. Every thing was so 
quiet at nine o'clock, as to induce me to venture up the hill abreast of us, 
in order to have a view of the newly-discovered land to the south-west, 
which, indeed, I had seen indistinctly and much refracted from the Hecla's 
deck in the morning. The weather being rather unfavourable, I had not so 
dear a view as Lieutenant Beechey, but I distinctly saw high and bold land 
from S. 75° W. to S. 30° W., the part most plainly visible, and appearing 
the nearest, being at a S. 55° W. bearing. The general distance of this 
land, I considered to be somewhat greater than that at which Lieutenant 
Beechey had estimated it, and it is placed on the chart at from sixteen to 
eighteen leagues from the station at which the ships were lying. This land, 
which extends beyond the 117th degree of west longitude, and is the 
most western yet discovered in the Polar Sea, to the northward of the 
American Continent, was honoured with the name of Banks's Land, out of 
respect to the late venerable and worthy President of the Royal Society, 
whose long life was actively engaged in the encouragement and promotion of 
discovery and general science. 

The loom of land was frequently seen as far as a south-east bearing from 
the present station of the ships, which corresponds with the appearances 
often observed during our stay in Winter Harbour ; as I have scarcely a 
doubt, therefore, that this forms a continuation of Banks's Land, which is, 
in all probability, another island of the North Georgian group, I have 
marked it on the chart by an unshaded line as far as the above bearing. 
-From the top of the hill, not a "hole" could be seen in the ice in any 
direction ; the wind being extremely variable during the day, kept us in 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 239 

a constant state of anxiety, lest the ice should come in, but it gave us no 1820. 
disturbance. A few hares were brought in by our sportsmen, and a dovekey J^^' 
was seen, being the first for this season. 

On the morning of the 9th, a musk-ox came down to graze on the beach, Wed. 9. 
near the ships. A party was despatched in pursuit, and having hemmed him 
in under the hill, which was too steep for him to ascend, succeeded in killing 
him. When first brought on board, the inside of this animal, which was a 
male, smelt very strongly of musk, of which the whole of the meat also 
tasted, more or less, and especially the heart. A description of this animal 
being given in the Appendix. I shall only add respecting it, that it furnished 
us with four hundred and twenty-one pounds of beef, which was served 
to the crews as usual, in lieu of their salt provisions, and Avas very much 
relished by us, notwithstanding the peculiarity of its flavour*. The meat was 
remarkably fat, and, as it hung up in quarters, looked as fine as any beef in 
an English market. A small seal, (Phoca Vitulina), killed by the Griper's 
people, was also eaten by them; and.it was generally allowed to be very 
tender and palatable, though not very sightly in its appearance, being of a 
disagreeable red colour. 

In the morning-watch, a breeze sprung up from the Avestward, which we 
were always ready to welcome, having found that it invariably seized to open 
the ice, while an easterly wind as constantly made it closer. This was, 
however, of short duration, being succeeded soon after noon by a light air 
from the south-east, which brought all the loose ice into our bight. At half- 
past three P.M., a large piece of a very heavy floe came close to us, and 
would have given us a " nip" against the shore, had we not avoided it by 
heaving the ship a few yards a-head in good time. It was then brought up by 
the point of land, and remained quietly half a cable's length astern of us, there 
not being room for it to drift farther to the westward between the point and an 
enormous floe which blocked up the passage to the southward and westward. 

At ten P.M., the whole body of ice which was then a quarter of a mile from 
us, was found to be drifting in upon the land, and the ship was warped back 
a little way to the westward, towards that part of the shore, which was 
most favourable for allowing her to be forced up on the beach. At eleven 

* Some pieces of this meat, which we brought to England, were found to have acquired 
a much more disagreeable flavour than when first killed, though they had not undergone 
putrefaction in the slightest degree. 



240 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. o'clock, the piece of a floe, which came near us in the afternoon, and which 
t)i^^' had since drifted back a few hundred yards to the eastward, received the 
pressure of the whole body of ice, as it came in. It split across in various 
directions, with a considerable crash, and presently after we saw a part, 
several hundred tons in weight, raised slowly and majestically, as if by the 
application of a screw, and deposited on another part of the floe from which 
it had broken, presenting towards us the surface that had split, which was of 
a fine blue colour, and very solid and transparent. The violence with which 
the ice was coming in being thus broken, it remained quiet during the 
night, which was calm, with a heavy fall of snow. 
Thur. 10. The mass of ice which had been lifted up the preceding day, being drifted 
close to us on the morning of the 10th, I sent Lieutenant Beechey to measure 
its thickness, which proved to be forty-two feet ; and, as it was a piece of a 
regular floe, this measurement may serve to give some idea of the general thick- 
ness of the ice in this neighbourhood. There were some, however, which were 
of much larger dimensions ; an immense floe which formed the principal, or 
at least the nearest, obstruction to the westward, was covered with large 
hummocks, giving to its upper surface the appearance of hill and dale, some- 
what in this manner : 



The thickness of this floe at its nearest edge was six or seven feet above the 
sea, and as about six-sevenths are usually immersed, the whole thickness 
would appear, in the common way of reckoning it, to have been from forty 
to fifty feet, which corresponds with that actually measured by Lieutenant 
Beechey. But the hummocks were many of them at least from fifteen to 
twenty-five feet above the sea; so that the solidity and thickness of this 
enormous floe must have been infinitely greater than any thing we had seen 
before. It was the opinion of Lieutenant Beechey, and of Messrs. Allison 
and Fife, that it very much resembled the ice met with at Spitzbergen ; 
but, according to the account of the two latter, was much heavier than 
any which they had seen there ; Lieutenant Beechey considered that 
there was much more snow upon the surface of the Spitzbergen ice. It 
is here of some importance to notice, that the " loose ice" in this neigh- 
bourhood was on the same increased scale as the floes, so that the danger 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 241 

to be apprehended from the violent contact of one of these pieces was 1820. 
little less than that from a floe of ordinary size, such as occurs in Baffin's Ji^' 
Bay. This circumstance, also, very materially altered the character of the 
navigation on that part of the coast, for the loose pieces being most of 
them of infinitely greater bulk and weight in the water than either of our ships, 
the latter could no longer turn them out of their way, as usual, in sailing 
among this kind of ice, but were invariably stopped short in their progress, 
with a violent concussion, which nothing but their extraordinary strength 
could have enabled them to withstand. 

It noAV became evident, from the combined experience of this and the pre- 
ceding year, that there was something peculiar about the south-west extremity 
of Melville Island, which made the icy sea there extremely unfavourable to 
navigation, and which seemed likely to bid defiance to all our efforts to 
proceed much farther to the westward in this parallel of latitude. We had 
arrived off it on the 17th of September, 1819, after long and heavy gales 
from the north-westward, by which alone the ice is ever opened on this 
coast, and found it, in unusually heavy and extensive fields, completely 
closing in with the land, a mile or two to the eastward of where we were 
now lying. We again arrived here in the early part of August, and though 
the rest of the navigation had been remarkably clear for the fifty miles 
between this and Winter Harbour, seeming to afford a presumptive proof, 
that the season was rather a favourable one than otherwise, the same ob- 
struction presented itself as before ; nor did there appear, from our late 
experience, a reasonable ground of hope, that any fortuitous circum- 
stance, such as an alteration in winds or currents, was likely to remove 
the formidable impediments which we had now to encounter. The in- 
creased dimensions of the ice hereabouts would not alone have created an 
insurmountable difficulty in the navigation, but that it was very naturally 
accompanied by a decree of closeness which seldom or never admitted 
an open space of clear water of sufficient size for a ship, or even a boat, to 
sail in. We had been lying near our present station with an easterly wind 
blowing fresh for thirty-six hours together; and although this was consi- 
derably oflFthe land, beyond the western point of the island now in sight, the 
ice had not, during the whole of that time, moved a single yard from the 
shore ; affording a proof that there was no space in which the ice was at liberty 
to move to the westward, and offering a single and a striking exception to our 
former experience. 



242 ^ VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. Under these circumstances, I began to consider whether it would not be 
"^IJ^' advisable, whenever the ice would allow us to move, to sacrifice a few miles 
of the westing we had already made, and to run along the margin of the 
floes, in order to endeavour to find an opening leading to the southward, by 
taking advantage of which we might be enabled to prosecute the voyage to 
the westward in a lower latitude. I was the more inclined to make this 
attempt, from its having long become evident to us, that the navigation of this 
part of the Polar Sea is only to be performed by watching the occasional 
openings between the ice and the shore ; and that, therefore, a continuity of 
land is essential, if not absolutely necessary, for this purpose. Such a con- 
tinuity of land, which was here about to fail us, must necessarily be furnished 
by the northern coast of America, in whatsoever latitude it may be found ; 
and, as a large portion of our short season had already been occupied in 
fruitless attempts to penetrate further to the westward in our present parallel, 
under circumstances of more than ordinary risk to the ships, I determined, 
whenever the ice should open sufficiently, to put into execution the plan I had 
proposed. 

The westerly wind cleared us by slow degrees of the loose masses of ice 
about the ship, and in the afternoon the main body went off about three 
hundred yards, drifting also a little to the eastward. It may always be 
expected, in icy seas, that a breeze of wind, however light, will set the ice 
in motion, if there be any room for it to move; in such 'cases, the smaller 
pieces of course begin to drift the first, and the heavier ones soon follow, 
though at a slower rate : among loose ice,- therefore, almost every separate 
piece is seen to move with a different velocity, proportioned to its depth 
under water. 

Having gone on shore in the evening to make some observations for the 
variation, I afterwards ascended the hill, in order to take a view of the state 
of the ice in the offing. The breeze had now begun to open several " holes," 
particularly in the west and south-east quarters ; it was most loose in the 
latter direction, except close along the land to the eastward, where a ship 
might possibly have been got, had this been our immediate object. The ice, 
however, looked just as promising to the westward as in any other quarter, 
and I found, before I returned on board, that it continued to drift to the 
eastward, and to leave more and more space of clear water in the required 
direction. I, therefore, communicated to Lieutenant Liddon my intention of 
pushing on to the westward the instant the sea became clear enough for the 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 243 

ships to make any progress with a beating wind; but, in the event of failing 1820. 
to do so, that I should next try what could be done by attempting a passage Ji^^' 
considerably to the southward of our present parallel. 

At seven P.M., we shipped the rudder, and crossed the top-gallant yards, 
in readiness for moving ; and I then again ascended the hill, and walked a 
mile to the westward, along the brow of it, that not a moment might be lost, 
after the ice to the westward should give us the slightest hope of making any 
progress by getting under-way. Although the holes had certainly increased 
in size and extent, there was still not sufficient room even for one of our 
boats to have worked to windward ; and the impossibility of the ships' doing so 
wa& rendered more apparent, on account of the current which, as I have before 
had occasion to remark, is always produced in these seas, soon after the 
springing up of a breeze, and which was now running to the eastward, at 
the rate of at least one mile per hour. It was evident, that any attempt to 
get the ships to the westward must, under circumstances so unfavourable, be 
attended with the certain consequence of their being drifted the contrary 
way ; and nothing could, therefore, be done but still to watch, which we did 
most anxiously, every alteration in the state of the ice. The wind, how- 
ever, decreasing as the night came on, served to diminish the hopes with 
which we had flattered ourselves of being speedily extricated from our 
present confined and dangerous situation. At half-past ten P.M., Lieutenant 
Beechey, at my request, ascended the hill ; and, on his return at eleven 
o'clock, reported that, " the ice was slack from W.b.N. to W.S.W., but that, 
without a leading wind, it did not appear tlrnt a ship could make any way 
among it." 

At one A.M., on the 11th, I despatched Mr. Ross to the top of the hill, Frid.ll. 
from whence he observed, that " the ice had slackened considerably from 
W.b.S. to south, but was still too close for a ship to work among it." At this 
time the wind was dying away gradually ; and, at four A.M., when Mr. Ross 
again ascended the hill, it had fallen quite calm. The ice immediately 
ceased to drift to the eastward, and at half-past five, a light breeze springing 
up from the south-east, caused it at once to return in the opposite direction. 
Being desirous, if possible, to take advantage of this breeze. Lieutenant 
Beechey and myself again went on shore, in order to form a judgment 
whether there was room for the ships to sail among the ice, should it appear 
otherwise expedient to get them under- Avay. We agreed that it was by no 
means practicable with the present light wind, which would scarcely have 



24$ VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. given them steerage-way, even in a clear and unincumbered sea, and much 
Ji^il^' less, therefore, could have enabled them to force their way through the 
numberless heavy masses which lay in our way to the westward. So close, 
indeed, did the ice about us still continue, that it was necessary to shift 
the Hecla once more round to the westward of the point of land, to secure 
her from that which the change of wind was once more bringing back in 
great abundance, and at the rate of nearly a mile per hour. In an hour 
after we had effected this, I had reason to be satisfied with the deter- 
mination to which I had come, of not getting the ships under- way, for there 
was literally not a single " hole" of open water visible from the mast-head, 
in which a boat would have floated, except immediately under the lee of 
the point where we were lying, and within one hundred yards of the ship. 

The latitude observed at our present station was 74° 25' 35", the longitude, 
by chronometers, 113° 43' 01", and the variation of the magnetic needle, 
106° 06' 38" Easterly, each of these being the mean of several observations 
taken on different days. There was nothing in the appearance or productions 
of this part of the island different from those which had been found elsewhere, 
except that the ravines were more strikingly grand and picturesque, in con- 
sequence of the greater height of the land upon this part of the coast : this, 
as I have before remarked, was found, in one instance, to exceed eight 
hundred feet above the level of the sea ; and the hills, immediately at the 
back of this, at the distance of nine or ten miles, appeared to be at least 
one or two hundred feet higher; so that the extreme height of Melville 
Island, as far as we had an opportunity of seeing it, may, perhaps, be 
fairly estimated at about one thousand feet. The rocks consisted entirely of 
sandstone in horizontal strata, and the soil of sand, intermixed occasionally 
- with decayed plants, forming here and there a sort of vegetable mould, on 
Avhich the other plants, and a few tufts of very luxuriant moss, were 
growing: we remarked, that almost the whole of the plants had a part 
of their flowers cropped by the hares, and other animals which are fond 
of feeding in the sheltered and warm situations afforded by the banks next 
the sea. 

The weather was foggy for some hours in the morning, but cleared up in 
the afternoon, as the sun acquired power. The wind increased to a fresh 
gale from the eastward, at nine P.M., being the second time that it had done 
so, while we had been lying at this station ; a circumstance which we were 
the more inclined to notice, as the easterly winds had hitherto been more 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 245 

faint and less frequent than those from the westward. In this respect, 1820. 
therefore, we considered ourselves unfortunate, as experience had already Jl^^' 
shewn us, that none but a westerly wind ever produced upon this coast, 
or, indeed, on the southern coast of any of the North Georgian Islands, the 
desired effect of clearing the shores of ice. 

At nine P.M., Lieutenant Beechey could discover from the top of the hill 
no clear water in any direction. After ten o'clock the wind blew much 
harder, Avhich obliged us to strike the top-gallant yards, and to brace the 
yards to the wind ; tlie ice had by this time ceased moving to the westward, 
having apparently, as before, reached its ne plus ultra in that direction. The 
electrometer was tried in the course of the evening, in the usual manner, the 
sky being full of hard dense clouds, and the wind blowing strong; but no 
sensible effect was produced upon the gold leaf. 

The gale continued strong during the night, and the ice quite stationary. Sat. 12. 
Not a pool of clear water could be seen in any direction, except just under 
the lee of our point, where there was a space larg;e enough to contain half a 
dozen sail of ships, till about noon, when the whole closed in upon us without 
any apparent cause, except that the wind blew in irregular puffs about that 
time, and at one P.M. it was alongside. The ship was placed in the most 
advantageous manner for taking the beach, or rather the shelf of submarine 
ice, and the rudder again unshipped and hung across the stem. Tlie ice 
which came in contact with the ship's side consisted of very heavy loose 
pieces, drawing twelve or fourteen feet water, which, however, we considered 
as good " fenders," comparatively with the enormous fields which covered 
the sea just without them. So much, indeed, do we judge at all times by 
comparison, that this kind of ice, which in Davis' Strait we should not like 
to have had so near us, was now considered of infinite service, when inter- 
posed between the ship and the heavier floes. Every thing remained quiet 
for the rest of the day, without producing any pressure of consequence ; the 
wind came round to N.b.E. at night, but without moving the ice off the land. 

Early in the morning of the 13th, I received, by Mr. Griffiths, a message Sun. 13. 
from Lieutenant Liddon, acquainting me that at eleven o'clock on the pre- 
ceding night the ice had been setting slowly to the westward, and had at 
the same time closed in upon the land where the Griper was lying, by which 
means she was forced against the submarine ice, and her stern lifted two feet 
out of the water. This pressure. Lieutenant Liddon remarked, had given 
her a twist which made her crack a good deal, but apparently without suf- 



24iB VOYAGE FOR, THE DISCOVERY 

1820. fering any material injury in her hull, though the ice was still pressing upon 
■^)i="^' her when Mr. Griffiths came away. She had at first heeled inwards, but on 
being lifted higher, fell over towards the deep water. Under these circum- 
stances. Lieutenant Liddon had very properly landed all the journals and 
other documents of importance, and made every arrangement in his power 
for saving the provisions and stores, in case of shipwreck, which he had now 
every reason to anticipate. Convinced as I was that no human art or power 
could, in our present situation, prevent such a catastrophe, whenever the 
pressure of the ice became sufficient, I was more than ever satisfied with the 
determination to which I had previously come, of keeping the ships apart, 
during the continuance of these untoward circumstances, in order to increase 
the chance of saving one of them from accidents of this nature. I, therefore, 
thought it right merely to direct Lieutenant Liddon's attention to the ne- 
cessity of saving the provisions and fuel, in preference to any other species 
of stores, and established signals to be made upon the point of land which in- 
tervened between the ships, in case of any thing occurring. In the mean 
• time, the ice remained so close about the Hecla, that the slightest pressure 
producing in it a motion towards the shore, must have placed us in a situation 
similar to that of the Griper; and our attention was, therefore, diverted to the 
more important object of providing, by every means in our power, for the 
security of the larger ship, as being the principal depot of provisions and 
other resources. 

At five P.M. Lieutenant Liddon acquainted me by letter, that the Griper 
had at length righted, the ice having slackened a little around her, and that 
all the damage she appeared to have sustained waS in her rudder, which was 
badly split, and would require some hours' labour to repair it, whenever the 
ice should allow him to get it on shore. He also stated that, from the par- 
ticular situation into which the Griper had been forced, and of the masses of 
ice immediately about her, a westerly wind, though it might eventually clear 
the shore, would in the first place subject her to another squeeze like that 
from which she had just been so opportunely released. Lieutenant Beechey 
observed from the hill, in the course of the day, that the ice was so compact 
as not to leave an opening in any direction, and that it was set so close 
against the shore, that nothing could have passed between them. It had 
moved off a few yards from the Hecla for two or three hours, and in the 
evening closed again, so as to press her firmly against the land, though 
without any material strain. This pressure arose principally from the ap- 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 247 

proach of the large block of ice which I have described as having been raised 1820. 
up on the 9th, and which, having been frequently drifted backwards and "^li^" 
forwards past the ship since that time, had once more stationed itself rather 
nearer to us than we fcould have wished. I may here remark that this mass, 
of which we knew the dimensions by actual measurement, served, when 
driving among the heavy floes in the offing, as a standard of comparison, by 
Avhich the height of the latter above the sea, and thence their whole bulk, 
could be estimated with tolerable accuracy ; and it was principally in this 
manner that a judgment was formed of those enormous fields with which this 
part of the sea was incumbered. There was a very light air from the south- 
ward and eastward for the greater part of the evening, and a fog came on as 
the atmosphere cooled at night. 

Soon after midnight the ice pressed closer in upon the Hecla than before, Mon. 14. 
giving her a heel of eighteen inches towards the shore, but without appearing 
to strain her in the slightest degree. Most of the boats had been lowered 
down, and securely moored upon the beach, to prevent their being damaged, 
should the ship be forced upon her broadside, and the rest were now placed 
in a similar situation. By four P.M., the pressure had gradually decreased, 
and the ship had only three or four inches heel ; in an hour after she had 
perfectly righted, and the ice remained quiet for the rest of the day. A 
light easterly wind, with small snow at times, continued till six A.M., when 
it died away, and was soon after succeeded by a gentle air from the westward. 

Mr. Fisher tried an experiment on the specific gravity of a piece of floe- 
ice taken up from alongside the ship, by which it appeared to be heavier 
than that we had hitherto weighed in the same manner. Being formed into 
a cube, whose sides measured one foot two inches and seven-tenths, and 
placed to float in the sea, only one inch and eight-tenths of it remained 
above the surface. The temperature of the sea-water at the time, was 34°, 
and its specific gravity 1.0105. 

The weather became foggy, with small rain in the afternoon ; before the 
fog came on, however, Mr. Ross obsei-ved from the hill that the same un- 
varied surface of impenetrable ice, as before, presented itself in every direc- 
tion ; and a note from Lieutenant Liddon acquainted me that no alteration 
had lately taken place in the neighbourhood of the Griper. 

Every moment's additional detention now served to confirm me in the 
opinion I had formed, as to the expediency of trying, at all risks, to pene- 
trate to the southward, whenever the ice would allow us to move at all. 



248 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. rather than persevere any longer in the attempts we had been lately making 
K^^^' with so little success, to push on directly to the westward. I, therefore, 
gave Lieutenant Liddon an order to run back a certain distance to the east- 
ward, whenever he could do so, without waiting for the Hecla, should 
that ship be still detained ; and to look out for any opening in the ice to the 
southward, which might seem likely to favour the object I had in view, 
waiting for me to join him, should any such opening occur. 

The westerly breeze freshening up, with continued snow, the ice about 
the ship began to move at seven P.M. The usual superficial current was 
soon observed to make, carrying with it to the eastward the loose and broken 
fragments of ice. At eight o'clock the heavier masses had also acquired 
motion, and it became necessary to shelter the Hecla from their approach 
by shifting her once more to the eastward of the point. In doing this, we 
found the current at the extreme point running at the rate of two, or two and 
a half miles an hour, so as to require great caution in laying out our warps 
to prevent the ship being carried back to the eastward ; and this not three 
hours after it had first begun to make. The frequent experience we had of the 
quickness with which currents are thus formed, in consequence merely of the 
wind setting the various bodies of ice in motion, naturally leads to this 
useful caution, that one or two trials of the set of the stream in icy seas 
must not be too hastily assumed in drawing any conclusion as to its constant 
or periodical direction. I am convinced, indeed, that, of all the circum- 
stances which render the navigation among ice so precarious and uncertain, 
there is none so liable to constant alteration, and on which, therefore, so 
little dependence can be placed, as an indication of the existence of a 
passage in this or that direction, as the set and velocity of the superficial 
currents. 
Tues. 15. The breeze died away in the course of the night, just as the ice was 
beginning to separate, and to drift away from the shore ; and, being suc- 
ceeded by a wind off the land, which is here very unusual. Lieutenant 
Liddon was enabled to make sail upon the Griper at two A.M. on the 15th, 
in execution of the orders I had given him. As I soon perceived, however, 
that she made little or no way, the wind drawing more to the eastward on 
that part of the coast, and as the clear water was increasing along the shore 
to the westward, much farther than we had yet seen it, I made the signal 
of recall to the Griper, with the intention of making another attempt, Avhich' 
the present favourable appearances seemed to justify, to push forward- 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 249 

without delay in the desired direction. At five A.M., therefore, as soon as i820. 
the snow had cleared away sufficiently to allow the signal to be distinguished, ^;,^^^: 
we cast off, and ran along shore, the wind having by this time veered to the 
E.b.N., and blowing in strong puffs out of the ravines as we passed them. 
We sailed along, generally at the distance of a hundred or a hundred and 
fifty yards from the beach, our soundings being from ten to seventeen 
fathoms ; and, after running a mile and a half in a N.W.b.W. direction, once 
more found the ice offering an impenetrable obstacle to our progress west- 
ward, at a small projecting point of land just beyond us. We, therefore, 
hauled the ship into a birth which we were at this moment fortunate in 
finding abreast of us, and where we were enabled to place the Hecla 
within a number of heavy masses of grounded ice, such as do not often occur 
on this steep coast, and which, comparatively with the situation we had lately 
left, appeared a perfect harbour. In the mean time, the wind had failed our 
consort, when she was a mile and a half short of this place ; and Lieutenant 
Liddon, after endeavouring in vain to warp up to us, was obliged, by the ice 
suddenly closing upon him, to place her in-shore in the first situation he 
could find, which proved to be in very deep water, as well as otherwise so 
insecure, as not to admit a hope of saving the ship, should the ice continue 
to press in upon her. It now became of essential importance to endeavour 
to get the Hecla so far into security in her present situation, as to allow of 
assistance being sent to the Griper in case of accidents. With this view, I 
assembled the officers and ship's company, and having acquainted them with 
my intention, caused such arrangements to be made for sending parties 
round, accompanied by proper officers, as might prevent confusion whenever 
that measure became necessary. The plan proposed was, to cut large scut- 
tles or holes in the decks, if time were allowed for doing so, whenever the 
wreck of the ship should appear to be unavoidable, in order to allow the 
casks of provision to float up out of the hold, as in any other case they must 
have sunk with the ship, in deep water. The Hecla's crew were set to work 
to saw off some thick tongues of ice, which prevented her going into a sort 
of" natural dock," as the sailors term it, formed by the masses of grounded 
ice ; a tedious and cold operation, which they performed with their usual 
alacrity, and thus placed the ship in complete security. I then walked 
round to the Griper, to acquaint Lieutenant Liddon with the arrangements 
that had been made, and to consult with him as to the other means to 
be adopted for her safety, and the preservation of the stores. We were 



250 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. shortly afterwards, however, relieved from any further apprehension on this 
'^•^' account, by the ice gradually receding from the shore, in consequence of a 
westerly breeze springing up, and allowing the Griper to warp up near 
the Hecla, where, though she was by no means so safe as that ship, she 
was at least placed in a situation, with which the extraordinary nature of 
our late navigation taught us to be satisfied. 

Mr. Fisher found very good sport in our new station, having returned in 
the evening, after a few hours' excursion, with nine hares ; the birds had, of 
late, almost entirely deserted us, a flock or two of ptarmigan and snow- 
buntings, a few glaucous gulls, a raven, and an owl, being all that had been 
Wed. 16. met with for several days. 

A fog which had prevailed during the night, cleared away in the morning of 
the 16th, and a very fine day succeeded, with a moderate breeze from the 
westward. In order to have a clear and distinct view of the state of the ice, 
after twenty-four hours' wind from that quarter. Captain Sabine, Mr. Edwards, 
and myself, walked about two miles to the westward, along the high part of 
the land next the sea, from whence it appeared but too evident that no 
passage in this direction was yet to be expected. The only clear water 
in sight was a channel of about three-quarters of a mile wide in some places, 
between the ice and the land, extending as far as a bold headland, bearing 
N. 52° W., distant two miles and a quarter, which formed the western ex- 
treme in sight, and was called Cape Dundas, as appropriate to the name 
which the island had received. The ice to the west and south-west was as 
solid and compact, to all appearance, as so much land; to which, indeed, 
the surface of many of the fields, from the kind of hill and dale I have 
before endeavoured to describe, bore no imperfect resemblance. I have 
no doubt that, had it been our object to circumnavigate Melville Island, 
or, on the other hand, had the coast continued its westerly direction 
instead of turning to the northward, we should still have contrived to pro- 
ceed a little occasionally, as opportunities offered, notwithstanding the 
increased obstruction which here presented itself; but as neither of these 
was the case, there seemed little or nothing to hope for from any 
further attempts to prosecute the main object of the voyage in this place. 
I determined, therefore, no longer to delay the execution of my former inten- 
tions, and to make trial, if possible, of a more southern latitude, in which I 
might follow up the success that had hitherto attended our exertions. 

The place to which we had now walked, was the eastern bank of the 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 251 

largest ravine we had ever seen upon the island ; its width at the part next 
the sea being above half a mile, and its sides, which are nearly per- 
pendicular, not less than eight hundred feet in height. In watching the 
little stream, not more than a yard or two wide and a few inches in 
depth, now trickling along the bottom of this immense water-course, it was 
impossible not to be forcibly struck with the consideration of the time 
which must have been required, with means apparently so inadequate, 
to hew out so vast a bed for the annual discharge of the winter's snow 
into the ocean. We here met with no other mineral than sandstone ; the 
formation of the rocks, as far as we could see them in the ravines, here and 
there resembled large upright masses, or square pillars, standing amidst 
the debris which surrounded them ; in other places, a range of sandstone, in 
thin horizontal strata, was left in the same manner, having all the appear- 
ance of a wall artificially constructed, and on these a square part sometimes 
occurred, higher than the rest, not unlike chimneys, for which, in an 
inhabited country, they might easily have been taken at a little distance. 
In some of the higher parts of the land, upon the brink of the precipice 
which overlooks the sea, we remarked almost the first commencement of 
ravines, consisting of small channels a yard or two in depth, and which, as 
we then amused ourselves by reflecting, may one day resemble those im- 
mense beds which constitute the most sublime and picturesque feature 
that this island can boast. I have before remarked that, at the outlet of 
these ravines, there is always a small point of land, formed by the soil and 
stones which are there carried into the ocean ; I repeat this observation, for 
the sake of adding that, in cases of danger from the sudden closing of 
the ice, a ship may always be sure of meeting with one of these points, 
which are too small to be seen at a distance, or to be delineated on 
the chart, by steering for one of the ravines, the latter being easily distin- 
guishable when several miles from the land. 

The station at which the ships were now lying, and which is the westernmost 
point to which the navigation of the Polar Sea to the northward of the 
American continent has yet been carried, is in latitude 74° 26' 25", and 
longitude, by chronometers, 113° 46' 43 ".5. Cape Dundas is in latitude 
74° 27' 50", longitude 113° 57' 35", by which the length of Melville Island, in 
an E.N.E. and W.S.W. direction,. appears to be about one hundred and thirty- 
five miles, and its breadth, about the meridian of Winter Harbour, from forty 
to fifty miles. 



252 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. At two P.M. we cast off from the shore, and ran close along the edge of 
^^^^^ the ice to the eastward, the general distance from the land being a mile and 
a half for the first four or five miles, and then gradually much closer, I 
acquainted the officers with the object I had now in view, and directed a 
vigilant look-out to be constantly kept for any opening in the ice that might 
favour our getting to the southward. The wind died away after five P.M., 
and then became extremely variable, shifting in " cat's paws" from one point 
to another as quickly as we could trim the sails. At nine P.M. we were 
abreast the place where we had landed on the 5th, and here we perceived 
that the ice closed in with the land a little to the eastward. There was no 
security to be found for the ships without getting past one of the small points 
at the mouth of a ravine, against which a floe was setting the smaller pieces 
of ice, and had blocked up the passage before we arrived at it. After two hours' 
labour in heaving with hawsers, during which the Hecla narrowly escaped a 
severe " nip" by the sudden closing of the ice, we succeeded in getting 
through, and, soon after midnight, made the ships fast to some very heavy 
grounded ice near the beach. We observed a number of hares feeding on the 
sides of the cliffs, as we sailed along in the afternoon, and also a few 
ptarmigan. 
Thur. 17, The place where the Hecla was now secured, being the only one of the kind 
which could be found, was a little harbour formed, as usual, by the grounded 
ice, some of which was fixed to the bottom in ten to twelve fathoms. One 
side of the entrance to this harbour consisted of masses of floes, very regular 
in their shape, placed quite horizontally, and broken off" so exactly perpen- 
dicular, as to resemble a handsome well-built wharf. On the opposite side, 
however, the masses to which we looked for security were themselves rather 
terrific objects, as they leaned over so much towards the ship, as to give th€ 
appearance of their being in the act of falling upon her deck ; and as a veryj| 
trifling concussion often produces the fall of much heavier masses of ice^J 
when in appearance very firmly fixed to the ground, I gave orders that noa 
guns should be fired near the ship during her continuance in this situationsjj 
The Griper was of necessity made fast near the beach, in rather an expose* 
situation, and her rudder unshipped, in readiness for the ice coming in ; itj 
remained quiet, however, though quite close, during the day, the weather 
being calm and fine. The latitude observed here was 74° 24' 50", the longi-^ 
tude 112° 38' 55", and the variation of the magnetic needle 111° 19' 15l 
easterly. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 253 

The weather became foggy at night; the young ice, which had, for several 1820. 
evenings past, begun to form upon the surface of the sea, as the sun became v.^^-^' 
low, did not thaw during the whole of this day. Mr. Fisher was again 
successful in his sporting excursion, bringing in nine hares, the greater part 
of which were still beautifully white ; about a dozen young ptarmigan were 
also killed in each ship. The vegetation in this neighbourhood was much the 
same as in our last station ; the sorrel had now become too insipid to be at 
all palatable. 

On the 18th the weather was alternately clear and cloudy, with a slight air Frid. 18. 
of wind from the S.W. The ice continued close to the land as far as we 
could see in both directions, and without the smallest perceptible motion till 
the evening, when it slackened a little along the shore. I immediately 
despatched Mr. Nias to Cape Providence, which was still two miles and a half 
to the eastward of us, to examine the appearance of the ice beyond it. He 
reported, on his return, that it was slack at the distance of two hundred yards 
from the shore, as far as the Cape, but that to the eastward there was no 
appearance of clear water. As there was not the smallest security for the 
ships for the next three or four miles along the shore, it was necessary still 
to continue in our present place of refuge. 

It was again nearly calm on the 19th, and the weather was foggy for some Sat. 19. 
hours in the morning. In the evening, having walked to Cape Providence, 
to see if there was any possibility of moving the ships, I found the ice so 
close that a boat could not have passed beyond the Cape ; but a light air 
drifting the ice slowly to the eastward at this time, gave me some hopes of 
soon being enabled to make our escape from this tedious as well as vexatious 
confinement. At a quarter past eight it was high-water by the shore ; about 
this time the ice ceased driving to the eastward, and shortly after returned in 
the opposite direction. This coincidence, if it be only such, seemed in some 
degree to confirm what I had hitherto considered to be the case with respect 
to the flood-tide coming from the westward upon this coast; but it may, 
perhaps, have been occasioned only by the usual superficial current, as a light 
air sprung up from the eastward about that time. 

At half-past eleven P.M., some heavy pieces of the grounded ice, to which 
our bow-hawser was secured, fell off into the water, snapping the rope in 
two, without injuring the ship. As, however, every alteration of this kind 
must materially change the centre of gravity of the whole mass, which already 
appeared in a tottering state, I thought it prudent to move the Hecla out of 



254. VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

her harbour to the place where the Griper was lying, considering that a ship 
might easily be forced on shore by the ice without suffering any serious 
damage ; but that one of those enormous masses falling upon her deck must 
inevitably crush or sink her. 
Sun. 20. The weather being again calm on the 20th and 21st allowed the " young 
ice" to form upon the surface to such a degree as firmly to cement together 
the loose pieces which hung about the ships ; and it did not thaw during those 
days, though the sun was shining clearly upon it for several hours. Although 
this alone was sufficient to deter me from moving the ships, without a fresh 
breeze of wind, I was anxious to know the state of the ice to the eastward, 
and I, therefore, sent Mr. Nias to the Cape on the evening of the 21st, to 
examine it with a glass. On his return he acquainted me that no alteration 
had taken place, the whole body of the ice remaining still close in with the 
shore, and perfectly compact and impenetrable to the eastward, as well as to 
the south. 

Tues. 22. On the 22d, the ice still remained as close as before, more so indeed as, 
on the failure of a light breeze which had been blowing from the westward 
for an hour or two^ and had amused us with hopes of getting away, the loose 
ice surrounded us completely, so that we were immoveably beset. Calm 
weather is observed always to make ice open out, and occupy more space 
than it had done before, as if the previous breeze had been acting on art 
elastic substance, which springs back as soon as the force of the wind is re- 
moved from it. 

Wed. 23. The " young ice" had increased to the thickness of an inch and a half on 
the morning of the 23d, and some snow which had fallen in the night served 
to cement the whole more firaily together. On a breeze springing up from 
the westward, however, it soon began to acquire a motion to leeward, 
and, at half an hour before noon, had slackened about the ships suf- 
ficiently to allow us to warp them out, which was accordingly done, and 
all sail made upon them. The wind having freshened up from the W.N.W., 
the ships' heads were got the right way, and by great attention to the 
sails, kept so till they had got abreast of Cape Providence, after which 
they Avere no longer manageable, the ice being more close than before. I 
have before remarked that the loose ice in this neighbourhood was heavy 
in proportion to the floes from which it had been broken; and the im- 
possibility of sailing among such ice, most of which drew more water than 
the Hecla, and could not therefore be turned by her Aveight, was this day 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 255 

rendered very apparent, the ships having received by far the heaviest shocks 1820. 
which they experienced during the voyage. They continued, however, to ^^li^," 
drive till they were about three miles to the eastward of Cape Providence, 
where the low land commences ; when finding that there was not any 
appearance of open water to the eastward or southward, and that we were 
now incurring the risk of being beset at sea, without a chance of making any 
farther progress, we hauled in for the largest piece of grounded ice we could 
see upon the beach, which we reached at six P.M., having performed six miles 
of the most difficult navigation I have ever known among ice. The Hecla 
was made fast in from eighteen to twenty feet water close to the beach, and 
the Griper in four fathoms, about half a mile to the westward of us. 

The situation in which the ships were now placed, when viewed in com- 
bination with the shortness of the remaining part of the season, and the 
period to which our resources of every kind could be extended, was such as 
to require a more than ordinary consideration, in order to determine upon 
the measures most proper to be pursued, for the advancement of the public 
service and the security of the ships and people committed to my charge. 
Judging from the close of the summer of 1819, it was reasonable to consider 
the 7th of September as the limit beyond which the navigation of this part of 
the Polar Sea could not be performed, with tolerable safety to the ships, or 
with any hope of further success. Impressed, however, with a strong sense 
of the efforts which it became us to make in the prosecution of our enterprise, 
I was induced to extend this limit to the 14th of September, before which 
day, on the preceding year, the winter might fairly be said to have set in. 
But even with this extension our prospect was not very encouraging : the 
direct distance to Icy Cape was between eight and nine hundred miles, 
while that which we had advanced towards it this season, fell short of sixty 
miles. 

I have already detailed the reasons which inclined me to believe, that 
there was little hope of making further progress to the westward in this 
latitude, and the grounds upon which I had determined to run along the edge 
of the ice to the eastward. Such, however, was the extreme difficulty with 
which we were enabled to navigate the ships in this, or any other, direction, 
that it had for many days been equally out of our power to effect this 
object. Indeed, we had experienced, during the first half of the navigable sea- 
son, such a continued series of vexations, disappointments and delays, accom- 
panied by such a constant state of danger to the ships, that I felt it would 



256 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. no longer be deemed justifiable in me to persevere in a fruitless attempt to get 
^^1^ to the westward. 

By Mr. Hooper's report of the remains of provisions, it appeared that, at 
the present reduced allowance, (namely, two-thirds of the established pro- 
portion for the navy), they would last until the 30th of November, 1821 ; and 
that an immediate reduction to half allowance, which must, however, tend 
materially to impair the health and vigour of the officers and men, would only 
extend our resources till the 30th of April, 1822; it therefore became a 
matter of evident and imperious necessity, that the ships should be cleared 
from the ice before the close of the season of 1821, so as to reach some 
station where supplies might be obtained by the end of that, or early in the 
following, year. 

By the same report, it appeared that the fuel, with which we were fur- 
nished, could only be made to extend to a period of tw^o years and seven 
months, or to the end of November, 1821 ; and this only by resorting to the 
unhealthy measure of both crews' living on board the Hecla, during six of the 
ensuing winter months. The above calculation was made according to the 
proportion of fuel hitherto consumed on board each ship, varying at dif- 
ferent periods of the year, from one and a half to three bushels of coal 
per day, — a quantity which, far from affording the officers and men com- 
fort in so rigorous a climate, was found barely sufficient to preserve their 
health. 

The ships might be considered almost as effective as when the Expedition 
left England ; the wear and tear having been trifling, and the quantity of 
stores remaining on board being amply sufficient, in all probability, for a 
much longer period than the provisions and fuel. The health of the officers 
and men continued also as good, or nearly so, as at the commencement of the 
voyage. Considering, however, the serious loss we had sustained in the 
lemon-juice, the only effectual anti-scorbutic on which we could depend, 
during at least nine months of the year in these regions, as well as the effects 
likely to result from crowding nearly one hundred persons into the accom- 
modation intended only for fifty-eight, whereby the difficulty of keeping the 
inhabited parts of the ship in a dry and wholesome state would have been 
so much increased, there certainly seemed some reason to apprehend, that a 
second winter would not leave us in possession of the same excellent health 
which we now happily enjoyed, while it is possible that the difficulty and 
danger of either proceeding or returning might have been increased. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 257 

'fhese considerations, together with some others of minor importance, in- 1820. 
duced me, at this time, to call for the opinions of the principal officers of the Ji^IiL'' 
Expedition, being desirous of profiting by their united judgment and expe- 
rience, previous to forming my ultimate decision as to the measures most 
proper to be pursued. I, therefore, addressed a letter to Lieutenants Liddon, 
Beechey, and Hoppner, Captain Sabine, and Messrs. Edwards and Hooper, 
respectively, directing their attention to the diflPerent points connected with 
our situation which I have just detailed, and requesting their advice upon the 
subject within thirty-six hours after the receipt of my letter. 

Early in the morning of the 24th, the wind shifted to north, and soon after Thur. 24. 
increased to a fresh breeze, which made the ice stream off the land, but so slowly, 
that it was not till ten A.M., that we had a channel wide enough to move the 
ships to a point a mile and a half to the eastward, which we reached by short 
tacks at noon ; and, beyond which, as well as to the south and west, nothing but 
ice could be seen. So quickly, indeed, was the narrow channel closed, in which 
we had been sailing, that when we made fast to the ice at the point, it would 
have been impossible to have returned even to the spot we had just before left. 

A herd of musk-oxen being seen at a little distance from the ships, a party 
was despatched in pursuit ; and Messrs. Fisher and Bushnan were fortunate 
in killing a fine bull, which separated from the rest of the herd, being too 
unwieldy to make such good way as the others. He was, however, by no 
means caught by our people in fair chase, for though these animals run with 
a hobbling sort of canter that makes them appear as if every now and 
then about to fall, yet the slowest of them can far outstrip a man. In 
this herd were two calves, much whiter than the rest, the older ones having 
only the white saddle. In the evening, Serjeant Martin succeeded in killing 
another bull ; these two animals afforded a very welcome supply of fresh meat, 
the first giving us three hundred and sixty-nine, and the other three hundred 
and fifty-two pounds of beef, which was served in the same manner as before.* 

* The total quantity of game obtained for the use of the Expedition, during our stay upon 
the shores of Melville Island, being a pei-iod of nearly twelve months, was as follows : 
3 Musk-oxen ---..' 



24 Deer - - 
68 Hares - - 
53 Geese - - 
59 Ducks - 
144 Ptarmigans 



Affording 3,766 pounds of meat. 



258 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. The wind died away soon after we reached the point, affording no hope of 
v^4^ making, for the present, any further progress by the drifting of the ice from the 
land; we, therefore, hauled the ships into the best births we could find, in 
doing which the Hecla's fore-foot rested on the ground for a short time, 
but she was afterwards secured in four fathoms. It was low water by the 
shore at eight P.M. 
Frid. 25. The ice closed in upon us in the course of the night, leaving not a single 
pool of open water in sight in any direction. It was high- water at half-past 
two A.M., and low-water at three-quarters past eight, so that the tides appeared 
to continue very regular on this part of the coast. The Griper, being very near 
the beach, grounded as the tide fell, so that the water left her between two 
and three feet ; Lieutenant Liddon, therefore, warped out nearer to the Hecla 
in the afternoon, for fear of not getting off when it might be necessary. 

Immediately under the hills, which here, for the first time, in sailing from 
Cape Providence to the eastward, recede about two miles from the sea, was 
the most luxuriant pasture-ground we had yet met with on Melville Island. 
It consisted of about a dozen acres of short thick grass, intermixed with moss, 
which gave it almost the same lively appearance as that of an English mea- 
dow. It was covered with the dung and foot-tracks of musk-oxen, of which 
twelve or fourteen skulls were picked up near it ; and it was here that the 
herd before-mentioned was feeding. When walking over this spot, on which 
there were many small ponds of wAter, our surprise in some degree ceased 
at the immense distance which these animals must travel in the course of 
their annual visits to these dreary and desolate regions ; as such a pasture 
affording undisturbed and luxuriant feeding during the summer months, may, 
in spite of the general dreary appearance of the island, hold out sufficient 
inducement for their annual emigration. 

A thermometer in the sun about two P.M. stood at 52° for a short time, the 
weather being quite calm and fine. Mr. Fisher tried an experiment on the 
specific gravity of a piece of floe-ice found lying on the top of one of the 
grounded masses near the beach. Being formed into a cube, whose sides 
measured two feet, and put into the sea, at the temperature of 33°, with that 
side up which was lying uppermost when first found, three inches and a half 
of it remained above the surface ; but when the opposite side was turned up, 
only three inches appeared above water. The latitude observed at this station 
was 74° 27' 19", the longitude 112° 11' 32", and the variation of the magnetic 
needle 114° 34' 45" Easterly. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 259 

We here obtained our last supply of sorrel, the leaves of which had now 1820. 
become so shrivelled, as well as insipid, as to be no longer worth gathering. v.^^liL' 
We saw no birds here but one or two flocks of king-ducks, a speckled owl, 
which was killed, and now and then a solitary glaucous gull. 

An air of wind having sprung up from the westward in the evening, the ice 
had slackened about us a little by eight P.M., which induced me to cast off 
soon after, though with little prospect of making any progress. After two 
hours, during which the breeze deserted us, we had gained about three- 
quarters of a mile to the eastward, and then made fast to the land-ice to wait 
for an opening, which might enable us to proceed. 

The wind remained light and variable till five A.M. on the 26th, Avhen a Sat. 26. 
westerly breeze began to open the ice a little ; at seven we cast off, and made 
all sail to the eastward, through loose but heavy pieces of ice, between which 
there seemed sufficient room for the ships to sail. We soon found, however, that 
the young ice, which at a distance appeared like open water, had so completely 
occupied the space between the heavier masses, that when the ship had 
entered it, it was impossible to keep way upon her, or to get her head in the 
right direction. Such, indeed, was the difficulty of doing this, that we were 
incessantly labouring from eight till half-past eleven, without gaining a single 
yard, except what the ship drifted with the ice. Having at length, however, 
got out of the scrape into which the young ice had unavoidably brought us, 
and the breeze freshening up strong from the westward, all sail was made 
along the land, generally within half a mile of the beach, where a channel 
of clear water had now opened. In the course of the morning, the Hecla 
received some very severe shocks, one of which Ave Avere apprehensive had 
damaged the rudder, the ship having run with fresh sternway against a heavy 
piece of ice, but fortunately no material injury was sustained. 

Soon after noon, the weather became thick, with heavy snoAv, so that Ave 
were obliged to run entirely by the lead, on which Ave had every reason con- 
fidently to rely, as a safe and sure guide. We kept close along the edge of 
the ice, which was quite compact to the southward of us, without the 
smallest appearance of an opening to encourage a hope of penetrating in 
that direction. 

Having noAv received the ansAvers of the officers to my letter addressed to 
them on the 23d, and given the matter my most serious and mature considera- 
tion, it Avas necessary that I should make up my mind as to the future con- 
duct of the Expedition. It Avas gratifying to me to find that the oflRcers 



260 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. unanimously agreed with me in opinion that any further attempt to penetrate 
'^^i^li^" to the westward in our present parallel would be altogether fruitless, and 
attended with a considerable loss of time, which might be more usefully 
employed. They also agreed with me in thinking, that the plan which I had 
adopted, of running back along the edge of the ice to the eastward, in order 
to look out for an opening that might lead us towards the American continent, 
was, in every respect, the most advisable ; and that, in the event of failing 
to find any such opening, after a reasonable time spent in the search, it would 
be expedient to return to England rather than to risk the passing another 
winter in these seas, without the prospect of attaining any adequate object; 
namely, that of being able to start from an advanced station at the com- 
mencement of the following season. 

Under all the circumstances of the case, therefore, I could not but admit 
the propriety of immediately returning to England, should our attempt to pe- 
netrate to the southward prove unsuccessful in any part of the navigation 
between the position we now occupied and Barrow's Strait ; as it would, in ■ 
that case, be impossible to make so much progress either to the southward or f; 
the westward during the short remainder of the present season, as to bring 
the accomplishment of the passage through Behring's Strait within the scopi 
of our remaining resources. 

At three P.M. we were abreast of Cape Hearne ; and, as we opened th 
bay of the Hecla and Griper, the wind, as usual on this part of the coast,* 
came directly out from the northward; but as soon as we had stretched over 
to Bounty Cape, of which we were abreast at eight P.M., it drew once more 
along the land from the westward. We found a large quantity of loose and o< 
broken ice off Cape Hearne, and not far from the same place we came to a 
floe of young ice, of nearly a mile in length, and about two inches and a half 
in thickness, which had undoubtedly been formed this summer, probably in 
some of the bays and inlets in the neighbourhood of Bounty Cape. The 
distance between the ice and the land increased as we proceeded, and at 
midnight the channel appeared to be four or five miles wide, as far as the 
darkness of the night would allow of our judging; for we could at this period 
scarcely see to read in the cabin at ten o'clock. The snow which fell during 
the day was observed, for the first time, to remain upon the land without dis- 
solving; thus affording a proof of the temperature of the earth's surface having 
again fallen below that of freezing ; and giving notice of the near approach 
of another long and dreary winter. One or two fulmar petrels, some tern. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 261 

and numerous flocks of snow-buntings, were seen about the ships in the 1820. 

r .lU j August. 

course ot the day. 



The navigable channel increased so much in breadth, as we ran to the east- Sim. 27. 
ward with a fresh and favourable breeze, that at eight A.M., on the morning 
of the 27th, when we had advanced beyond the east end of Melville Island, 
it was not less than ten miles wide. We kept near the ice, running at such a 
distance from it as not to get the ships embayed between the points, which 
often occasions a long and useless delay in afterwards beating round them 
with a scant wind. A constant look-out was kept from the crow's-nest for an 
opening to the southward, but not a single break could be perceived in the 
mass of ice which still covered the sea in that direction. We were at noon 
in latitude 75° 02' 15", and longitude 105° 14' 20", the soundings being ninety- 
four fathoms, on a muddy bottom. Some water brought up from that depth 
in Dr. Marcet's bottle was at the temperature of 31°f , that at the surface being 
30°, and of the air 31°. 

At seven P.M., a fog coming on, we hauled up close to the edge of the ice, 
both as a guide to us in sailing during the continuance of the thick weather, 
and to avoid passing any opening that might occur in it to the southward. We 
were, in the course of the evening, within four or five miles of the same spot 
where we had been on the same day, and at the same hour the preceding year; 
and by a coincidence perhaps still more remarkable, we were here once more 
reduced to the same necessity as before, of steering the ships by one another for 
an hour or two ; the Griper keeping the Hecla ahead, and our quarter-master 
being directed to keep the Griper right astern, for want of some better mode 
of knowing in what direction we were running. The fog froze hard as it 'fell 
upon the rigging, making it difficult to handle the ropes in working the ship, 
and the night was rather dark for three or four hours. 

A fresh breeze continued from the S.W.b.W., with some swell, to which Mon. 28. 
we had long been unaccustomed, and which, together with the extreme 
thickness of the weather, and the uncertainty of our course, made great 
caution necessary in running along the ice. We had for some time been 
steering principally by the moon, but when she became obscured, we were 
under the necessity of hauling our wind to the northward and westward, 
which led us from the ice, till the weather should become more favourable. 
The fog began to clear away at half-past five A.M. on the 28th, and imme- 
diately after we saw land from N.E.b.E. to N.N.W. The ships' heads were 
now put to the S.S.E., in order to take up the ice where we had last seen it, 



262 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820, but at six o'clock, in approaching some heavy detached masses, v>^hich ap- 
J^^^' peared to be aground, and therefore made us very cautious with the hand- 
leads, we shoaled the water rather more suddenly than usual from thirty-five 
to ten, and then to seven, fathoms, and tacked in five and three quarters 
at the distance of half a mile to the westward of the grounded ice. There is 
certainly no land within two or three leagues of this shoal, on which, how- 
ever, I have little doubt, from the appearance of the ice aground upon it, 
there is water enough for any ship, and which will probably be at all times 
clearly pointed out by the never-failing beacons of these seas. It is cus- 
tomary to judge by the tide-mark upon the ice whether it be aground or not, 
and by its dimensions whether it may be boldly approached. 

Having hauled to the N.N.E., and then gradually more to the eastward, we 
deepened our water till no soundings could be obtained with forty fathoms 
of line, and then steered again to the S.E., in order to make the main ice. 
The impossibility of keeping any thing like an accurate reckoning during the 
last night's run, and the difficulty of recognising the land in consequence of 
the snow which now almost entirely covered it, left us for some time at a loss 
to ascertain our position, till we found ourselves at noon off Cape Cockburn, 
our latitude by observation being 74° 58' 28 ". We were now enabled to de- 
termine the continuity of the land from that point to Graham Moore's Bay, 
which, on its first discovery, we could not exactly ascertain on account of the 
distance at which we sailed from it. 

The ice to the southward, along which we continued to sail this day, was 
composed of floes remarkable for their extraordinary length and continuity, 
some of them not having a single break or crack for miles together, though 
. their height above the sea was not generally more than tAvelve inches, and 
their surface as smooth and even as a bowling-green, forming, in both these 
respects, a striking contrast to the ice to which Ave had lately been accustomed 
more westerly. The outer edge of these floes, however, for about one 
hundred yards, was broken by the sea into innumerable small pieces, remaining 
so close that a boat would not penetrate them; a circumstance which I 
notice because it prevented my putting into execution a plan I had pro- 
posed of making some observations on the variation of the magnetic 
needle in this neighbourhood, there being every reason to suppose that 
we should have found it to be 180°, or the south point of the needle 
turned directly to the North Pole of the earth, about the meridian of 100° 
West of Greenwich. The wind being to the southward of west, wliich 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 263 

made this shore a lee one, did not allow me to land on Bathurst Island for 1820. 

,, . Aiiffust. 

this purpose. v-^^^v./ 

The weather was again so thick with snow in the afternoon, that we were 
once more obliged to sail round all the bays in the ice, instead of running 
from point to point, in order to leave no part of it unexamined ; and, on its 
clearing up in the evening, we found that the ice was leading us to the 
northward of Garrett Island, the passage to the southward of it, through 
which we had sailed to the westward the preceding year, being now com- 
pletely blocked up by floes, which did not appear to have been detached 
from the island during this season. We had here occasion to notice, in a 
very striking degree, the deception occasioned by snow lying upon the land, 
in judging of its distance ; this, indeed, is much more remarkable in these seas 
than in any other, when any part of the intermediate space is occupied by floes 
of ice, the whiteness of which mingles so imperceptibly with that of the snow 
upon the land, that it is impossible, from the total absence of any shadow, 
to tell where one ends and the other commences. Such, indeed, was the 
illusion this evening, with respect to Garrett Island, which was completely 
covered with snow, that, although we were sailing at the distance of only 
four or five miles from it, we should scarcely have been aware that any 
land was in that direction, had we not previously surveyed these islands, and 
been running with the chart before us. 

In passing between Garrett and Bathurst Islands, at the distance of five 
miles from the former, we could find no bottom with thirty-five to fifty 
fathoms of line ; and when its centre bore S.b.W. 5 W. at the same distance, 
another island was discovered to the northward, which had not before been 
seen, and which I named after my friend and former commander. Captain 
Thomas Baker, of the Royal Navy. The eastern part of Bathurst Island was 
now observed to extend farther to the N.N.E. than we had before been 
enabled to see it, terminating by a point of land, called Cape Capel, out of 
respect to the Honourable Captain Thomas Bladen Capel, of the Royal 
Navy. 

We continued to run along the edge of the ice to the eastward, till half- 
past ten P.M., when more land being discovered a-head, of the extent and 
position of which we had no previous knowledge, and, the night growing 
dark, the ships were hove-to with their heads to the northward and westward, 
in which direction there was a space of clear water several miles in extent, 
being in ninety fathoms, on a bottom of soft mud. 



264 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

Having again got sight of the land at half-past two A.M., on the 29th, we 
bore up for it, along the edge of the ice, which completely surrounded 
29. Lowther Island, but left us a free passage to the eastward. The land, dis- 
covered the preceding evening, proved to be an island, about a mile and a 
half in length ; and being rather high, and remarkably bluff in every view, 
appeared to have deep water all round it. We were abreast of it at half- 
past five, and I named it Browne Island, out of respect to my much- 
esteemed friend, Mr. Henry Browne, of Portland-Place. The ice then led 
us in a S.E.|E. direction, towards another island, distant from the first three 
miles and a half, bearing S. S.E. It Avas named after my friend Dr. Somerville ; 
and is low at both ends like Garrett Island. When we first bore up in the 
morning, we had indistinctly seen land from N.N.E. to E.N.E., at the dis- 
tance of four or five leagues. As we advanced, and the day became more 
clear, we found it to extend much farther to the eastward, and afterwards 
ascertained that it fonned a part of Cornwallis Island, not before seen. At 
six o'clock we made Griffith Island, between which and the ice we found the 
navigable channel narrowed in one part to a mile, at which distance from 
the shore, we could obtain no soundings with forty to fifty fathoms of line. 
The whole of the shore of Griffith Island seemed to be bold, the land being 
steep and bluff!, especially towards its south-east end, where the strata, 
which appeared to be of sandstone, were observed to dip at a considerable 
angle to the S.E. 

At half an hour before noon, the weather being alternately thick and clear, 
from occasional showers of snow, a deeper bight than usual was perceived in 
the ice, which had hitherto been nearly as compact as if it were composed of 
a single floe. As I had always entertained an idea, that there was no part 
of this sea, in which we were more likely to get to the southward, than im- 
mediately to the westward, of Cape Bunny, I was desirous of thoroughly 
examining the state of the ice in this neighbourhood, and bore up to the 
southward, under all sail for that purpose. After running two or three 
miles, however, we were again stopped at twenty minutes past noon ; and 
the weather having now cleared up, we perceived that the ice was as compact 
as before, except that there was one " hole" of water about a third of a 
mile wide just within its margin, but beyond this it was quite close and 
impenetrable. We were, therefore, under the necessity of again hauling to 
the eastward, along the edge of the floes, which lay in a direction nearly 
parallel to the southern shore, and at the distance of seven or eight miles 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 265 

from it, being much nearer than we had been able to approach it, only six 1820. 
days earlier the preceding season. It is remarkable that we here found a y^^Xj 
strong rippling on the surface of the water, in the same place where we had 
before noticed it; and, as we could discover nothing like shoal-water, or un- 
evenness in the bottom, we concluded it must have been occasioned by some 
particular set, or meeting of the tides in this place. The space between us 
and Cornwallis Island was entirely free from ice, and Wellington 
Channel presented the same broad navigable passage, as on the former 
occasion. 

The continuity or otherwise, of a large portion of the land now to the south- 
ward of us having before remained undetermined, on account of the hazy 
weather we had experienced on our passage to the westward, I was glad to 
have an opportunity of filling up the deficiencies which had unavoidably been 
left in the chart, upon this part of the coast. Immediately to the eastward of 
Cunningham Inlet is a bold headland, which formed the extreme of the 
land visible in this direction, in 1819, and which now being clearly dis- 
tinguished, I named after Major Rennell, a gentleman well known as the 
ablest geographer of the age. At the back of Cape Rennell, the land 
recedes considerably, forming a large bay, which I called Garnier Bay, 
and which, as we did not distinctly see the bottom of it in one part, 
may not improbably be found to communicate with Cunningham Inlet, making 
the intermediate land, on which Cape Rennell stands, an island. Before night 
came on, we had traced the land to the eastward nearly as far as Cape 
Clarence ; but being desirous of leaving no part of this coast unexamined, by 
running past it in the night, I hove-to at half-past ten, with the ships' heads 
to the northward, and found no soundings with a hundred and thirty fathoms 
of line. The whole of the land we passed this day was much covered with 
snow, and, perhaps, permanently so, as the mean temperature of the at- 
mosphere had, for some time past, fallen rather below the freezing 
point. If this conclusion be just, it would appear that the present season 
was about to close-in somewhat earlier than it had done the preceding 
year. A flock of brent-geese, some fulmar petrels, a dovekey, and one or 
two ivory gulls, were all the birds seen in the course of this day's run. 

To the land along which we had now been sailing, I gave the name of 
North Somerset, in honour of my native county; and the northern shore of 
Barrow's Strait was called North Devon, after that of Lieutenant Liddon. 

At a quarter past three on the morning of the 30th> we bore up to the Wed. 30. 



Q66 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. eastward, the wind continuing fresh directly down Barrow's Strait, except 
^-^' i^^^ ^f*^"" passing Prince Leopold's Islands, where it drew into Prince Regent's 
Inlet, and as soon as Ave had passed this, again assumed its former westerly 
"direction ; affording a remarkable instance of the manner in which the wind 
"is acted upon by the particular position of the land, even at a considerable 
distance from it. The islands were incumbered with ice to the distance of 
four or five miles all round them, but the Strait was generally as clear and 
navigable as any part of the Atlantic. 

Having now traced the ice the whole way from the longitude of 114° to 
that of 90° without discovering any opening to encourage a hope of pene- 
trating it to the southward, I could not entertain the slightest doubt, that 
there no longer remained a possibility of effecting our object with the 
present resources of the Expedition; and that it was, therefore, my duty to 
return to England with the account of our late proceedings, that no time 
might be lost in following up the success with which we had been favoured, 
should His Majesty's Government consider it expedient to do so. Having 
informed the officers and men in both ships of my intentions, I directed the 
full allowance of provisions to be, in future, issued, with such a proportion 
of fuel as might contribute to their comfort ; a luxury which, on account of 
the necessity that existed for the strictest economy in this article, it must be 
confessed, we had not often enjoyed since we entered Sir James Lancaster's 
Sound. We had been on two-thirds allowance of bread between ten and 
eleven months, and on the same reduced proportion of the other species of 
provisions, between three and four ; and, although this quantity is scarcely 
enough for working men for any length of time, I believe the reduction 
of fuel was generally considered by far the greater privation of thetwo. 

We ran along the south shore, at the distance of four or five leagues, with 
a fresh westerly wind, and fine clear weather; a bay on that coast, a little 
to the westward of Cape York, was named after my friend. The Honourable 
Mr. Eardley. We noticed a striking similarity in the geological character 
of this part of the coast, as far as we could judge at a distance, to that on 
the opposite shore of Barrow's Strait, both being remarkable for that but- 
tress-like structure, which has before been observed to resemble the woriss 
of art, arid which gives this land a magnificent and imposing appearance, 
such as it is impossible to describe. The shores wiere covered with ice 'to 
the distance of four or five miles, and the first solitary iceberg was seen iri 
the course of the afternoon; but the Strait was, in other respects, ^perfectly 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE, S©!? 

free from obstruction. At eleven P.M., we were abreast of a bluff and 1820. 
remarkable headland, which I named after my much-esteemed friend, ^^1^ 
Mr. William Petrie Craufurd, and to the eastward of which the land appeared 
to recede, forming a large bay. I continued to run during the night, how- 
ever, being desirous of taking advantage of the westerly breeze Avhich was 
still blowing, to run out of Sir James Lancaster's Sound. 

It was not light enough till half past three on the morning of the 31st, to Thui. 31. 
enable us to perceive that the land immediately to the eastward of Cape 
Craufurd was not continuous, there being a space subtending an angle of 
21° 42' in the middle of the supposed bay, where none was visible, though 
the weather was perfectly clear. As the wind drew almost directly out of 
this opening, to which I gave the name of Admiralty Inlet, and, as it was 
entirely occupied by ice, I did not think its further examination of sufficient 
importance to detain the Expedition, and therefore continued our course to 
the eastward. The headland, which forms the eastern point of the entrance, 
I named after The Right Honourable Charles Yorke, late First Lord of the 
Admiralty; and to another within the inlet, I gave the name of Cape 
Franklin, after my friend. Captain John Franklin, of the Royal Navy, 
now employed in investigating the northern shore of North America. On 
an inspection of the chart, it will appear more than probable, that 
the Admiralty Inlet may one day be found to communicate to the south- 
ward with Prince Regent's Inlet, making the land bet^jreen them an island. 

At half-past eight A.M., we were abreast of the Navy -Board Inlet, round 
the bottom of which the continuity of the land was still by no means 
clear to us ; in fact, it receded so far to the southward, as rather to 
strengthen the opinion we had before formed of the existence of a pas- 
sage in that direction; the quantity of ice which occupied this inlet, 
however, prevented our ascertaining this satisfactorily. Immediately off 
Cape Castlereagh, we discovered two low islands, which had not been 
seen on the preceding voyage, and which I named after Dr. William 
WoLLASTON, a gentleman well known in the scientific world, and one of the 
Commissioners of Longitude. To the eastward of the Cape, there is 
some comparatively low land next the sea, from which abruptly rise 
the lofty Byam Martin Mountains, whose summits are covered with per- 
petual snow. One of the highest of these, immediately at the back of 
Catherine's Bay, of which we were abreast at noon, was found trigonometrl- 
cally to be three thousand three hundred and eighty-two feet above the level 



268 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. of the sea. It may be remarked that the castellated appearance of the land 
August, jg yery much less on the eastern than on the Avestern side of Admiralty 
Inlet. Towards the west side of Navy -Board Inlet, the land next the sea be- 
comes comparatively low, but rises at the back into high hills, which are round 
at the top ; in this respect forming a striking contrast with the Martin Moun- 
tains, the latter being peaked, though not so sharply as those of Spitzbergen. 
Our horizon being obstructed at noon by the closeness of the land, I was 
desirous of going on shore to observe the meridian altitude ; but, on hauling 
the ships to the wind with that intention, I found the beach so lined with ice 
for about half a mile out, that it was no where practicable to land, and the 
ice itself was too unsteady for the artificial horizons ; we, therefore, con- 
tinued to run to the eastward. A large bear was seen swimming, and our 
boats despatched in pursuit of him ; but before the ship could be rounded 
to, we had run too far to keep sight of him, and the boats returned without 
success. We here passed several large icebergs, and a few narrow streams 
of ice, of the same thickness as that which usually occurs in Baffin's Bay, 
and which appeared very light to us, in comparison with that to which we 
had lately been accustomed. Being off Cape Liverpool, which headland is 
formed by a projecting point of the same comparatively low land that I have 
mentioned above, the water became of a very light-green colour, and was filled 
with innumerable shoals of the Argonauta Arctica ; we found no bottom with 
eighty fathoms of line, at the distance of two or three miles from the shore. 
In the course of this day's run we saw two threshers, one black whale, a 
seal, some dovekeys, ivory-gulls, phalaropes, and fulmar-petrels. Considering 
the extraordinary number of whales we had met with in our passage up Sir 
James Lancaster's Sound in 1819, it could not but be a matter of surprise to 
us that we had now seen so few ; but this circumstance was afterwards satis- 
factorily accounted for in a manner we least expected. In the evening, being 
off Cape Fanshawe, we observed a long low iceberg, between that headland 
and Possession Bay, not less than three-quarters of a mile in length, and 
quite flat and even at the top ; this kind of iceberg appears to be almost 
entirely confined to the western coast of Baffin's Bay and Davis' Strait, as we 
never met with them in any other part ; they are probably formed upon the 
low strips of land which occur between the foot of the hills and the sea in 
many parts of this coast. 

As it appeared to me that considerable service might be rendered by a 
general survey of the western coast of Baffin's Bay, which, from Sir James 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 



269 



Lancaster's Sound southwards, might one day become an impoitant station i820. 
for our whalers, I determined to keep as close to that shore, during our pas- ^^S^' 
sage down, as the ice and the wind would permit ; and as the experience of 
the former voyage had led us to suppose that this coast would be almost clear 
of ice during the whole of September, I thought that this month could not 
be better employed than in the examination of its numerous bays and inlets. 
Such an examination appeared to me the more desirable, from the hope of 
finding some new outlet into the Polar Sea in a lower latitude than that of 
Sir James Lancaster's Sound, a discovery which would be of infinite impor- 
tance towards the accomplishment of the North-West Passage. 

Previously to commencing this survey, it was my wish to have landed at 
Possession Bay, of which the longitude had been accurately determined on two 
fonner occasions, in order to compare our chronometers with the time found 
there, as an intermediate station between Winter Harbour and England ; but, 
as this would have detained us a whole night, with a fair wind, and with the 
chance of the following day being after all unfavourable for observations, I 
gave up my intention, and made all sail along shore to the southward. 
This was, however, the less to be regretted, as the few observations obtained 
during our quick return from Melville Island, had confirmed the accuracy of 
the rates assigned to the chronometers on leaving Winter Harbour. 

Annexed is an abstract of the Meteorological Observations made on board 
the ships during the twelve calendar months that the Expedition remained 
between the parallels of 74° and 75° north latitude. 



ABSTRACT of the METEOROLOGICAL JOURNAL kept on board His Majesty's Ship Hecla, for Twelve 
Calendar Months ; during which period, she was between the parallels of 74° and 75° North Latitude. 


Moathe. 


Temperature of Air in Shade. 


Barometer. 


REMARKS. 


Maxi- 


Hini- 


R.,e. 


Mean. 


M.ixi- 


Mioi- 


Mean. 


1819. September . 
October . . . 
November . 
December . 

1820. January . . 
February . . 
March . . . 
April .... 

Rlay 

June' .... 

July : . . . . 

August . . . 



+ 37 
+ 17.5 
+ 6 
+ 6 
- 2 
-17 
+ C 
+ 32 
^47 
+ .51 
1-60 
+45 




- 1 

-28 
-47 
-43 
-47 
-50 
-40 
-32 

- 4 
+ 28 
+ 32 
+ 22 


38 

45.5 

53 

49 

45 

33 

46 

61 

51 

23 

28 

23 


+ 22°.54 

- 3.46 
-20.60 
-21.79 
-30.0!) 
-32.19 
-18.10 

- 8.37 
+ 16.6(1 
+ 36.24 
+ 42.41 
+ 32.68 


iiicbef. 

30.42 
30.32 
30.32 
30.755 
30.77 
30.15 
30.26 
30.86 
30.48 
30.13 
30.01 
30.03 


inches- 

29.36 
29.10 
29.63 
29.10 
29.59 
29.32 
29.00 
29.40 
29.25 
29.50 
29.13 
29.46 


inclici. 

29.905 

29.81 

29.945 

29.865 

30.078 

29.769 

29.803 

29.978 

30.109 

29.823 

29.668 

29.734 


The thermometer when placed on shore, 
or on the ice at a distance from the ship, in- 
variably stood from 3° to 4° or 5", and even, 
on some occasioDS,7°lower than tliat regis- 
tered on board : the mean temperature for 
the year may therefore be tairly consi- 
dered as - 2°. The lowest temperature, 
registered on the ice, was - 55°; it did not 
rise above — 54o, for seventeen hours, on the 
14th and 15th of February, 1820. 


+ 60 


-50 


110 


+ 1.33 


30.86 


29.00 


29.874 



ABSTRACT of the METEOROLOGICAL JOURNAL kept on board His Majesty's Ship Hecla, 










at Sea, during the Month of August, 1820. 


I 


Day 


Temp 


eratureof Air 
n shade. 


Barometer. 


Prevailing Winds. 


Prevailing Weather. 




Maxi- 


Mioi- 


Mean. 


Maxi. 


Mini. 


Mean. 




1 


+ 
42* 


+ 
+ 32 


+ 
36.21 


inches. 
29.83 


inches. 
29.69 


inches. 
29.767 


W.N.W. 


Fresh breezes and cloudy weather. 




2 


38 


32 


34.17 


29.84 


29.70 


29.793 


s.s.w. 


Light breezes and cloudy, snow at times. 




3 


39 


33 


35.92 


29.70 


29.57 


29.647 


Round the compass. 


Light breezes, thick hazy weather. 




4 


38.5 


33 


35.62 


29.69 


29.65 


29.673 


N.W.b.W. 


Fresh breezes and fine. 




5 


41 


30.5 


34.08 


29.79 


29.69 


29.737 


W.b.N. 


light airs and cloudy. 




6 


36 


33 


33.96 


29.76 


29.59 


29.672 


E.S.E. 


Fresh breezes and hazy, sleet and snow. 




7 


38 


31 


34.92 


29.62 


29.56 


29.595 


Round the compass. 


Fresh breezes and fine, occasional squalls. 




8 


39 


33 


36.46 


29.64 


29.60 


29.618 


Ditto. 


Light variable airs, cloudy vpith rain. 




9 


40 


31 


34.79 


29.60 


29.46 


29.513 


West. 


Light variable airs — hazy. 




10 


34 


30 


31.96 


29.60 


29.54 


29.575 


W.b.N. 


Moderate and hazy, small snow. 




11 


33 


30 


31.29 


29.64 


29.53 


29.592 


E.S.E. 


Light breezes and foggy, snow at times. 




12 


38 


30.6 


34.29 


29.70 


29.48 


29.542 


E.N.E. 


Strong breezes and squally weather. 




13 


45 


31 


36.92 


29.87 


29.76 


29.828 


Round the compass. 


Light breezes and cloudy. 




14 


38 


27 


33.22 


29.81 


29.71 


29.762 


West. 


Light airs and hazy. 




15 


37 


29 


32.33 


29.85 


29.76 


29.805 


W.N.W. 


Moderate and hazy, with snow. 




16 


34 


29 


32.42 


30.01 


29.83 


29.948 


W.N.W. 


Moderate and fine. 




17 


36 


28 


31.83 


30.03 


29.96 


30.007 


W.S.W. 


Light airs, and fine clear weather. 




IS 


36 


30 


33.08 


29.90 


29.79 


29.843 


Calm. 


Cloudy. 




19 


40 


28 


33.96 


29.87 


29.79 


29.820 


West. 


Light breezes and cloudy. 




20 


36 


27 


31.67 


29.91 


29.85 


29.888 


West. 


Light breezes, fijggy, and cloudy. 




21 


37 


26 


30.92 


29.84 


29.69 


29.757 


< A.M. Calm. I 
I P.M. East. 5 


Light breezes and foggy, with snow. 




22 


37.5 


29 


31.79 


29.69 


29.64 


29.667 


West. 


Light airs and hazy, snow. 




23 


35 


30 


31.58 


29.79 


29.71 


29.745 


West. 


Moderate and cloudy. 




24 


34 


30 


31.79 


29.83 


29.71 


29.79J 


North. 


Light airs and cloudy. 




25 


38 


27 


32.29 


29.85 


29.83 


29.842 


Round the compass. 


Ditto ditto. 




26 


34 


25.5 


28.92 


29.81 


29.63 


29.737 


N.N.W. 


Fresh breezes and cloudy. 




27 


31 


22.5 


27.83 


29.92 


29.72 


29.848 


i A.M. North. > 
I P.M. West. $ 


Light breezes and cloudy. 




28 


31 


22 


28.12 


29.86 


29.72 


29.783 


W.S.W. 


Fresh breezes and hazy. 




29 


30 


28 


29.00 


29.66 


29.61 


29.645 


N.W.b.W. 


Moderate and hazy. 




30 


33 


28 


30.00 


30.00 


29.62 


29.638 


N.W. 


Moderate and cloudy weather. 




31 


34 


29 


31.75 


29.75 


29.63 


29.678 


W.S.W. 


Fresh breezes and cloudy weather. 




+ 45 


+ 22 


+ 32.68 


30.03 


29.46 


29.734 





■*SPKRf 



VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. 271 



CHAPTER XL 

PROGRESS DOWN THE WESTERN COAST OP BAFFIn's BAY MEET WITH THE 

WHALERS — ACCOUNT OP SOME ESQUIMAUX IN THE INLET CALLED THE 
RIVER CLYDE — CONTINUE THE SURVEY OF THE COAST, TILL STOPPED BY 

ICE IN THE LATITUDE OF 68|° OBLIGED TO RUN TO THE EASTWARD 

FRUITLESS ATTEMPTS TO REGAIN THE LAND, AND FINAL DEPARTURE 

PROM THE ICE REMARKS UPON THE PROBABLE EXISTENCE AND PRACTI- 
CABILITY OP A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE, AND UPON THE WHALE-FISHERY 

BOISTEROUS WEATHER IN CROSSING THE ATLANTIC LOSS OP THE 

HECLA's BOWSPRIT AND FOREMAST ARRIVAL IN ENGLAND. 

1 HE wind continuing fresh from the northward, on the morning of the 1st 
of September, we bore up and ran along the land, taking our departure from 
the flag-staff in Possession Bay, bearingW.S.W. five miles, at half-past four A.M. 
Having passed two small bays in the course of the morning, we were abreast 
of Cape Graham Moore towards noon, where the ice led us off to the distance 
of six or seven miles from the land. Some water brought up in D.r. Marcet's 
bottle from the depth of one hundred and ten fathoms was at the temperature 
of 30i°, that of the surface being 301°, and of the air 31°. The specific gravity 
of the surface-water at noon was 1.0246, at the temperature of 49°. 

When abreast of the inlet, which had been called Pond's Bay on the 
former expedition, the opening of the two shores, as far as the eye could 
reach, appeared so large as to excite considerable interest. We, therefore, 
hauled in with the intention of examining it, but found the ice so close, that 
the ship was stopped almost in the entrance. The weather, however, was 
at this time remarkably clear, and it was the opinion of the officers, as well , i 

as my own, that the two shores did not unite, there being nearly a whole ; - | 

point of the compass in which no land was visible ; and it was the general ! ■= 

belief that this opening would be found to communicate with the Navy-Board 
MriAdmiralty Inlet. 



•- 



I 



IMH 



^^ '-I zl. 



VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. '^1 



CHAPTER XI. 

PROGRESS DOWN THE WESTERN COAST OF BAFPIn's BAY MEET WITH THE 

WHALERS — ACCOUNT OF SOME ESQUIMAUX IN THE INLET CALLED THE 
RIVER CLYDE — CONTINUE THE SURVEY OF THE COAST, TILL STOPPED BY 

ICE IN THE LATITUDE OF 68|° OBLIGED TO RUN TO THE EASTWARD 

■ — FRUITLESS ATTEMPTS TO REGAIN THE LAND, AND FINAL DEPARTURE 
FROM THE ICE REMARKS UPON THE PROBABLE EXISTENCE AND PRACTI- 
CABILITY OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE, AND UPON THE WHALE-FISHERY 

BOISTEROUS WEATHER IN CROSSING THE ATLANTIC LOSS OP THE 

HECLA's BOWSPRIT AND FOREMAST ARRIVAL IN ENGLAND. 

1 HE wind continuing fresh from the northward, on the morning of the 1st 
of September, we bore up and ran along the land, taking our departure from 
the flag-stafFin Possession Bay, bearing W.S.W. five miles, at half-past four A.M. 
Having passed two small bays in the course of the morning, we were abreast 
of Cape Graham Moore towards noon, where the ice led us off to the distance 
of six or seven miles from the land. Some water brought up in D.r. Marcet's 
bottle from the depth of one hundred and ten fathoms was at the temperature 
of 30i°, that of the surface being 30|°, and of the air 31°. The specific gravity 
of the surface-water at noon was 1.0246, at the temperature of 49°. 

When abreast of the inlet, which had been called Pond's Bay on the 
former expedition, the opening of the two shores, as far as the eye could 
reach, appeared so large as to excite considerable interest. We, therefore, 
• hauled in with the intention of examining it, but found the ice so close, that 
the ship was stopped almost in the entrance. The weather, however, was 
at this time remarkably clear, and it was the opinion of the officers, as well 
as my own, that the two shores did not unite, there being nearly a whole 
point of the compass in which no land was visible ; and it was the general 
belief that this opening would be found to communicate with the Navy-Board 
or -Admiralty Inlet. 



umaLLr-- r^ 




272 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. The ice led us off very much to the eastward after leaving Pond's Bay; and 
y^J^ the weather became calm, with small snow, towards midnight. In this day's 
run, the compass-courses were occasionally inserted in the log-book, being 
the first time that the magnetic needle had been made use of on board the 
Hecla, for the purposes of navigation, for more than twelvemonths. A few 
rotges C-Alca AlleJ were seen, being the first this season. 
Sat. 2. There being some swell upon the ice, which extended generally to the 
distance of three or four leagues from the land, we were under the necessity 
of heaving-to for a few hours at night, a precaution which was always hence- 
forward adopted in running down this coast. At nine A.M., we were abreast 
an inlet having every appearance of a well-sheltered harbour, with an island 
near the middle of its entrance. Soon after passing this inlet, we came to a 
number of icebergs aground in forty-five fathoms, on a sandy bottom, after- 
wards deepening to seventy-eight fathoms ; a tide-mark of four or five feet 
was observed upon each of the icebergs. Some water brought up in Dr. 
Marcet's bottle from the depth of seventy-five fathoms, was at the tempe- 
rature of 32°|, that of the surface being 32°, and of the air 33°. We again 
commenced throwing bottles overboard, containing papers with the usual 
information, which practice was continued daily till the Expedition reached 
England. We saw no ice to the eastward of us in the course of this day's 
run, nor any blink in that direction. 
Sund. 3. On the morning of the 3d, we passed some of the highest icebergs I have 
ever seen, one of them being not less than one hundred and fifty to two hun- 
dred feet above the sea, judging from the height of the Griper's masts, when near 
it. At half-past seven A.M., being off' a point of land, which is comparatively 
low near the sea, with hills rising at the back to the height of more than a 
thousand feet above the sea, we observed to the southward a remarkable dark 
perpendicular cliffj forming the most singular and conspicuous object we had 
seen upon this coast. This cliffj which, in coming from the northward has the 
appearance of being detached, and is not unlike the Bass Rock in the Frith 
of Forth, is situated, as we afterwards discovered, upon an island, lying in 
the entrance of one of the numerous inlets, or fiords, with which this coast is 
indented. The wind becoming light and variable in the forenoon, I took 
the opportunity of landing near this inlet, accompanied by Captain Sabine, 
and some of the other officers. The latitude observed on board at noon 
was 71° 24' 20", being only two miles and three quarters to the southward 
of the dead reckoning in three days, by which we considered that there 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 273 

could be no current of any importance setting in that direction on this part 
of the coast. The soundings were eighty-eight fathoms on a muddy bottom; 
the temperature of the sea at that depth was 33°, at the surface 35°|, that of 
the atmosphere being 38°. 

We landed on a bold sandy beach, two or three miles to the northward of 
a low point, at the entrance of the inlet, towards which we walked, and 
ascended a hill at the back of the point, in order to obtain a view of this 
large opening. We now found that the perpendicular cliff formed the 
north-eastern point of a remarkably steep and precipitous island, on each 
side of which there is a wide and bold entrance. Above the island, 
the inlet branches off in at least two different directions, which our situation 
would not allow us to trace to any great distance, but we saw no termina- 
tion to either of them. 

The mineral productions were found to consist principally of granite and 
gneiss ; but there was also abundance of limestone and quartz, the latter beau- 
tifully white, which, together with the other specimens obtained here, will 
be described in the proper place in the Appendix. The vegetation was 
tolerably luxuriant in some places upon the low land which borders the sea, 
consisting principally of the dwarf-willow, sorrel, saxifrage, (Saxifraga Cernua), 
and poppy, with a few roots of scurvy-grass. There was still a great deal of 
snow remaining even on the lower parts of the land, on which were 
numerous ponds of water; on one of these, a pair of young red-throated 
divers which could not rise, were killed ; and two flocks of geese, one of 
them consisting of not less than sixty or seventy, were seen by Mr. Hooper, 
who described them as being very tame, running along the beach before our 
people, without rising, for a considerable distance. Some glaucous gulls 
and plovers were killed, and we met with several tracks of bears, deer, 
wolves, foxes, and mice. The coxswain of the boat found upon the beach 
part of the bone of a whale, which had been cut at one end by a sharp 
instrument, like an axe, with a quantity of chips lying about it, affording 
undoubted proof of this part of the coast having been visited at no distant 
period by Esquimaux; it is more than probable, indeed, that they may inhabit 
the shores of this inlet, which time would not now permit us to examine. 
More than sixty ice-bergs of very large dimensions were in sight from the 
top of the hill, together with a number of extensive floes to the north- 
east and south-east, at the distance of four or five leagues from the land. 

The latitude of the place of observation on shore was 71° 15' 34", its 



274 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820, longitude 71° 17' 23".6, and the variation of the magnetic needle 91° 28' 32" 
K,J^yJ Westerly. The tide was falling when we landed ; it was low water by the 
shore at three o'clock, and at half-past five, when we left the beach, it had risen 
only twelve inches. The tide set to the southward in the offing during the after- 
noon, especially about three o'clock, at which time the Hecla was observed by 
Lieutenant Beechey to be drifting fast against the wind in that direction. 

On our return on board, I found that a piece of whale-blubber, cut into a 
square shape, had been picked up on the water, which we then considered 
as a confirmation of this part of the coast, being inhabited, but which was 
afterwards more satisfactorily accounted for. 
Mon. 4. The wind, which had been light from the southward during the night, 
shifted to the north-west early in the morning, which induced me to give up 
the intention I had formed of further examining the inlet, and we, therefore, 
continued our course along shore to the southward. At seven A.M., we passed 
-, another inlet, similar to that of the preceding day, though much smaller, 
the land being of the same steep and precipitous character, and the water, 
apparently, deep near it. 

The latitude observed was 71° 02' 42", agreeing within a mile of the account, 
so that no current could well have existed since the preceding day's observation. 
In sounding as usual, at noon, we were not a little surprised in striking bottom 
in thirteen fathoms, the appearance of the shore, from which we were three or 
four leagues distant, indicating very deep water. A boat was sent a-head 
to sound, the wind having again broke us off from the southward ; at two 
o'clock we suddenly deepened the water to thirty-five, and soon after to 
fifty-six fathoms. At four P.M., we again dropped into fifteen fathoms, 
and the boats a-head found as little as eleven, on which several masses of 
ice were aground, pointing out, as usual, the extent of the shoal water. These 
two banks, which consist of coarse sand with broken shells, were named after 
the Hecla and Griper ; they form a striking exception to the general rule 
of judging of the boldness of a coast by the appearance of the shores. 

While occupied in attending to the soundings, soon after noon, our asto- 
nishment may readily be conceived, on seeing, from the mast-head, a ship, 
and soon after, two others, in the offing, which were soon ascertained to be 
whalers, standing in towards the land. They afterwards bore up to the 
northward along the edge of the ice which intervened betwixt us, and we 
lost sight of them at night. It was now evident that this coast, which had 
hithei-to been considered, by the whalers, as wholly inaccessible in so high 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 275 

a latitude, had become a fishing station liiie that on the opposite or Green- 
land shore, and the circumstance of our meeting so few whales in Sir James 
Lancaster's Sound this season, was at once accounted for by supposing what, 
indeed, we afterwards found to be the case, that the fishing-ships had 
been there before us, and had, for a time, scared them from that ground. 
The piece of blubber we had picked up was also sufficiently accounted for in 
a similar manner. 

In standing in-shore at night, we got into deep water, between the banks 
and the land, having no soundings with sixty to ninety fathoms of line, where 
we lay-to till day-light. 

It was so squally on the morning of the 5th, that we could scarcely carry Tues. 5. 
our double-reefed topsails, while, as we afterwards learned from the fishing- 
ships, Avhich were in sight at day-light, there was scarcely a breath of 
wind at a few leagues' distance from the land. In running to the south- 
ward, we passed, in the course of the forenoon, a headland, which is re- 
markable as appearing from the northward exactly like three round-topped 
islands, for which they had been taken on the voyage of 181S ; but they 
are only small hills situated on comparatively low land, which commences 
from hence to the southward next the sea. We coasted this low shore, as 
we had done in the preceding voyage, at the distance of two or three miles, 
having from twenty-three to twenty-nine fathoms' water. We here met with 
another of our fishing-ships, which proved to be the Lee, of Hull, Mr. Wil- 
liamson master ; from whom we learned, among other events of a public 
nature which were altogether new to us, the public calamity which England 
had sustained in the death of our late venerable and beloved Sovereign, and 
also the death of His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent. Mr. Williamson, 
among others, had succeeded in getting across the ice to this coast as high 
as the latitude of 73°, and had come down to this part in pursuit of the 
fish. One or two of the ships had endeavoured to return home by running down 
this coast, but had found the ice so close about the latitude of 69|°, as to 
induce most of the others to sail to the northward, in order to get back in 
the same way that they came. Mr. Williamson also reported his having, 
a day or two before, met with some Esquimaux in the inlet named the 
River Clyde in 1818, which was just to the southward of us. Considering 
it a matter of some interest to communicate with these people, who had, 
probably, not been before visited by Europeans, and that it might, at the 
same time, be useful to examine the inlet, I bore up, as soon as I 



27^ VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. had sent our despatches and letters on board the Lee, and stood in 
,,^^ towards the rocky islet called Agnes' Monument, passing between it 
and the low point which forms the entrance to the inlet on the northern side. 
This channel, which is two miles wide, appears bold in every part. As soon 
as we had opened the inlet, we dropped off at once from twenty into no 
bottom with thirty fathoms of line ; we then hauled over to the Monument, 
and, passing at the distance of one hundred and fifty yards from it, had 
twenty-seven fathoms, on a bottom of coarse sand. 

The north shore of the entrance to this inlet has a sandy beach, along 
which we stood for three or four miles towards some low islands, near which 
we were directed to look for the Esquimaux huts. Night came on, however, 
before we could discover them ; and we, therefore, stood out till day-light. 
We saw, in the course of this day, more than a dozen large black Avhales, 
principally near the inlet, and the Friendshijp, of Hull, Mr. Macbride master, 
was in sight to the eastward, with a fish alongside. 

The weather was too thick, with snow, on the morning of the 6th, to 
allow us to stand in for the land. We spoke the Friendship, and Mr. Bell, 
one of the owners, kindly ofiered us any assistance in his power. The wea- 
ther having cleared before noon, we bore up for the inlet, being near an 
immense iceberg, which, from its situation and dimensions, we recognised to 
be the same that had been measured in September, 1818, and found to be 
upwards of two miles in length. It was aground in precisely the same spot 
as before, where it will probably remain year after year, till gradually wasted 
by dissolution. 

At six in the evening, being near the outermost of the islands, with which 
we afterwards found this inlet to be studded, we observed four canoes 
paddling towards the ship ; they approached with great confidence, and 
came alongside without the least appearance of fear or suspicion. While 
paddling towards us, and indeed before we could plainly perceive their 
canoes, they continued to vociferate loudly ; but nothing like a song, nor 
even any articulate sound, which can be expressed by words, could be distin- 
guished. Their canoes were taken on board by their own desire, plainly 
intimated by signs, and with their assistance, and they at once came up the 
side without hesitation. These people consisted of an old man, apparently 
much above sixty, and three younger, from nineteen to thirty years of age. 
As soon as they came on deck, their vociferations seemed to increase with 
their astonishment, and, I may add, their pleasure ; for the reception they 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 277 

met with seemed to create no less joy than surprise. Whenever they received 1820. 
a present, or were shewn any thing which excited fresh admiration, they ^^ 
expressed their delight by loud and repeated ejaculations, which they some- 
times continued till they were quite hoarse, and out of breath, with the 
exertion. This noisy mode of expressing their satisfaction was accompanied 
by a jumping which continued for a minute or more, according to the degree 
of the passion which excited it, and the bodily powers of the person who 
exercised it, the old man being rather too infirm, but still doing his utmost, 
to go through the performance. 

After some time passed on deck, during which a few skins and ivory knives 
were bought from them, they were taken down into the cabin. The younger 
ones received the proposal to descend somewhat reluctantly, till they saw 
that their old companion was willing to shew them the example, and they then 
followed without fear. We had soon occasion to remark that they were much 
better behaved people than the Esquimaux who had visited our ships in 1818, 
on the north-eastern coast of Baffin's Bay. Although we were much at a loss 
for an interpreter, we had no great difficulty in making the old man under- 
stand, by shewing him an engraved portrait of an Esquimaux, that Lieutenant 
Beechey was desirous of making a similar drawing of him. He was accord- 
ingly placed on a stool near the fire, and sat for more than an hour with very 
tolerable composure and steadiness, considering that a barter for their clothes, 
spears, and whalebone, was going on at the same time near him. He was, 
indeed, kept quiet by the presents which were given him from time to time ; 
and when this failed, and he became impatient to move, I endeavoured to 
remind him that we wished him to keep his position, by placing my hands 
before me, holding up my head, and assuming a grave and demure look. 
We now found that the old gentleman was a mimic, as well as a very good- 
natured and obliging man ; for, whenever I did this, he always imitated me 
in such a manner as to create considerable diversion among his own people, 
as well as ours, and then very quietly kept his seat. While he was sitting 
for his picture, the other three stood behind him, bartering their commodities 
with great honesty, but in a manner which shewed them to be no strangers 
to traffic. If, for instance, a knife was offered for any article, they would 
hesitate for a short time, till they saw we were determined to give no higher 
price, and then at once consented to the exchange. In this case, as well as 
when any thing was presented to them, they immediately licked it twice with 
their tongues, after which they seemed to consider the bargain satisfactorily 



278 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

concluded. The youngest of the party very modestly kept behind the others, 
and, before he was observed to have done so, missed several presents, which 
his less diffident, though not importunate, companions had received. As the 
night closed in, they became desirous to depart, and they left us before dark* 
highly delighted with their visit. As I had purchased one of their canoes, 
a boat was sent to land its late owner, as only one person can sit in each. 
Mr. Palmer informed me, that, in going on shore, the canoes could beat our 
boat very much in rowing, whenever the Esquimaux chose to exert themselves, 
but they kept close to her the whole way. During the time that they were 
on board, we had observed in them a great aptness for imitating certain of 
our words ; and, while going on shore, they took a particular liking to the 
expression of " Hurra, give way!" which they heard Mr. Palmer use to the 
boat's crew, and which they frequently imitated, to the great amusement of 
all parties. 

Being desirous of seeing more of these people, of whom the first interview 
had given us a favourable impression, I determined to lie-to during the night, 
and to take the ships higher up the inlet on the following day. Mr. Bell came 
on board from the Friendship in the evening, and, after repeating his oifers 
of assistance, communicated to us many events of a public nature, which 
could not but be extremely interesting to us, after a complete seclusion from 
the rest of the world for a period of seventeen months. The tem- 
perature of the sea at the bottom, in one hundred and ninety-five fathoms, 
was 31 1°, and at the depth of seventy-six fathoms 31°.3; that of the surface 
water being 33°, and of the atmosphere 32°. 
Thuis. 7. The calm weather which prevailed during the night, was succeeded by a 
breeze from the westward on the morning of the 7th, of which advantage was 
immediately taken to beat up the inlet, which proved a very extensive one, and 
of which a particular chart is annexed. The sun did not break through the 
clouds till half-after seven, when the expected eclipse was found to have com-' 
menced, and I determined to land, with Captain Sabine, upon the nearest island, 
in order to observe the end of it, as well as to obtain the other usual observa- 
tions, together with angles for the survey. At ten minutes past eight the sun 
became again obscured, and was not visible till twenty minutes past nine, 
when we had landed, and were prepared with our glasses, but were disap- 
pointed, in finding that the eclipse was over. 

Soon after we had landed, the old Esquimaux and one of his younger com- 
panions, paddled over from the main land, and joined us upon the island. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 279 

They brought with them, as before, some pieces of whalebone and seal- 
skin dresses, which were soon disposed of, great care being taken by them 
not to produce more than one article at a time, returning to their canoes, 
which were at a little distance from our boat, after the purchase of each of 
their commodities, till their little stock was exhausted. Considering it 
desirable to keep up among them the ideas of fair and honest exchange, which 
they already seemed to possess in no ordinary degree, I did not permit them 
to receive any thing as presents, till all their commodities had been regularly 
bought. While we were waiting to obtain the sun's meridian altitude, 
they amused themselves in the most good-natured and cheerful manner with 
the boat's crew; and. Lieutenant Hoppner, who, with Mr. Beverly, had 
joined us in the Griper's boat, took this opportunity of making a drawing 
of the young man. It required, however, some shew of authority, as well 
as some occasional rewards, to keep him quietly seated on the rock for a 
time sufficient for this purpose ; the inclination they have to jump about, 
when much pleased, rendering it a penalty of no trifling nature for them to 
sit still for half an hour together. To shew their disposition to do us what 
little service was in their power, he afterwards employed himself in 
sharpening the seamen's knives, which he did with great expertness on any 
flat smooth stone, returning each as soon as finished, to its proper owner, 
and then making signs for another, which he sharpened and returned in the 
same way, without any attempt, and apparently without the smallest desire, 
to detain it. The old man was extremely inquisitive, and directed his at- 
tention to those things which appeared useful, rather than to those which 
were merely amusing. An instance of this occurred on my ordering a tin 
canister of preserved meat to be opened for the boats' crews' dinner. The 
old man was sitting on the rock, attentively watching the operation, which 
was performed with an axe struck by a mallet, when one of the men came 
up to us with a looking-glass. I held it up to each of the Esquimaux, who 
had also seen one the preceding evening, and then gave it into each of their 
hands successively. The younger one was quite in raptures, and literally 
jumped for joy for nearly a quarter of an hour : but the old man having had 
one smile at his own queer face, immediately resumed his former gravity, 
and, returning me the glass, directed his whole attention to the opening 
of the canister, and when this was effected, begged very hard for the 
mallet which had performed so useful an office, without expressing the least 
wish to partake of the meat, even when he saw us eating it with good 



280 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. appetites. Being prevailed on, however, to taste a little of it, with some 
y^J^ biscuit, they did not seem at all to relish it, but eat a small quantity from 
an evident desire not to offend us, and then deposited the rest safely in 
their canoes. They could not be persuaded to taste any rum, after once 
smelling it, even when much diluted with water. I do not know whether it 
be a circumstance worthy of notice, that, when a kaleidoscope or a telescope 
was given them to look into, they immediately shut one eye, and one of them 
used the right, and the other the left eye. 

In getting out of their canoes, as well as into them, great care is re- 
quired to preserve the balance of these frail and unsteady coracles, and 
in this they generally assist each other. As we were leaving the island, 
and they were about to follow us, we lay on our oars to observe how they 
would manage this, and it was gratifying to see that the young man launched 
the canoe of his aged companion, and having carefully steadied it 
alongside the rock, till he had safely embarked, carried his own down, and 
contrived, though with some difficulty, to get into it without assistance. 
They seem to take especial care in launching their canoes, not to rub them 
against the rocks, by placing one end gently in the water, and holding the 
other up high, till it can be deposited without risk of injury. As soon 
as we commenced rowing, the Esquimaux began to vociferate their newly- 
acquired expression of "Hurra, give way," which they continued at intervals, 
accompanied by the most good-humoured merriment, as we crossed over to 
the main land. There being now a little sea, occasioned by a weather tide, 
we found that our boats could easily beat their canoes in rowing, notwith- 
standing their utmost endeavours to keep up with us. 

The two Esquimaux tents, which we were now going to visit, were situated 
just within a low point of land, forming the eastern side of the entrance to a 
considerable branch of the inlet, extending some distance to the northward. 
The situation is warm and pleasant, having a south-westerly aspect, and 
being in every respect well adapted for the convenient residence of these 
poor people. We landed outside the point, and walked over to the tents, 
sending our boats, accompanied by the two canoes, round the point to meet 
us. As soon as we came in sight of the tents, every living animal there, 
men, women, children, and dogs, were in motion, the latter to the 
top of the hill out of our way, and the rest to meet us with loud and 
continued shouting ; the word " pilletaf [give me] being the only articulate 
sound we could distinguish, amidst the general uproar. Besides the four 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 281 

men whom we had already seen, there were four women, one of which 
being about the same age as the old man, was probably his wife ; the others 
were about thirty, twenty-two, and eighteen years of age. The first two 
of these, whom we supposed to be married to the two oldest of the young 
men, had infants slung in a kind of bag at their backs, much in the same 
way as gipsies are accustomed to carry their children. There were also 
seven children, from twelve to three years of age, besides the two infants 
in arms, or rather behind their mothers' backs ; and the woman of thirty was 
with child. 

We began, as before, by buying whatever they had to dispose of, giving 
in exchange knives, axes, brass kettles, needles, and other useful articles, 
and then added such presents as might be further serviceable to them. 
From the first moment of our arrival until we left them, or rather until we 
had nothing left to give, the females were particularly importunate with us, 
and " pilletay" resounded from the whole troop, wherever we went: they 
were extremely anxious to obtain our buttons, apparently more on account of 
the ornament of the crown and anchor which they observed upon them, 
than from any value they set upon their use; and several of these were 
cut off" our jackets to please their fancy. When I first endeavoured to 
bargain for a sledge, the persons I addressed gave me distinctly to under- 
stand by signs, that it Avas not their property, and pointed towards the 
woman who owned it ; though my ignorance in this respect offered a 
good opportunity of defrauding me, had they been so inclined, by receiving 
an equivalent for that which did not belong to them: on the owner's coming 
forward, the bargain was quickly concluded. The pikes which I gave 
in exchange underwent the usual ceremony of licking, and the sledge was 
carried to our boat with the most perfect understanding on both sides. 
In another instance, an axe was offered by some of the Griper's gentlemen, 
as the price of a dog, to which the woman who owned the animal consented. 
To shew that we placed full confidence in them, the axe was given to her 
before the dog was caught, and she immediately went away with a kind of 
halter or harness of thongs, which they use for this purpose, and honestly 
brought one of the finest among them, though nothing would have been 
easier than to have evaded the perfonnance of her contract. The readiness, 
however, with which they generally parted with their commodities, was by 
no means the effect of fear, nor did it always depend on the value of the 
articles offered in exchange ; for, having, as I thought, concluded a bargain 



282 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. for a second canoe belonging to the old woman, I desired the men to hand 
,J^P^ it down to the boat : but I soon perceived that I had misunderstood her, 
for she clung fast to the canoe, and cried most piteously till it was set 
down ; I then offered a larger price than before, but she could not be in- 
duced to part with it. 

The stature of these people, like that of Esquimaux in general, is much below 
the usual standard. The height of the old man, who was rather bent by age, 
was four feet eleven inches, and that of the other men from five feet four and a 
half to five feet six inches. Their faces are round and plump in the younger indi- 
viduals; skin smooth ; complexion not very dark, except that of the old man; 
teeth very white ; eyes small ; nose broad, but not very flat; hair black, straight, 
and glossy ; and their hands and feet extremely diminutive. The old man had a 
grey beard in which the black hairs predominated, and wore the hair rather 
long upon his upper lip, which was also the case with the eldest of the three 
others. One of these, we thought, bore a striking resemblance to our poor 
friend John Sackheuse, well-known as the Esquimaux who accompanied the 
former Expedition, the want of whose services we particularly felt on this 
occasion, and whose premature death had been sincerely lamented by all 
who knew him, as an intelligent and amiable man, and a valuable member 
of society. 

The grown-up females measured from four feet ten to four feet eleven 
inches. The features of the two youngest were regular; their complexions 
clear, and by no means dark; their eyes small, black, and piercing; teeth 
beautifully white and perfect ; and although the form of their faces is round 
and chubby, and their noses rather flat than otherwise, their countenances 
might, perhaps, be considered pleasing even according to the ideas of beauty 
which habit has taught us to entertain. Their hair, which is jet-black, 
hangs down long and loose about their shoulders, a part of it on each side 
being carelessly plaited, and sometimes rolled up into an awkward lump, 
instead of being neatly tied on the top of the head, as the Esquimaux women 
in most other parts are accustomed to wear it. The youngest female had 
much natural bashfulness and timidity, and Ave considered her to be the 
only unmarried one, as she differed from the other three in not being tattoed 
upon the face. Two of them had their hands tattooed also, and the old 
woman had a few marks of the same kind about each wrist. None of the 
men or children were thus distinguished. 

The children were generally good-looking, and the eldest boy, about twelve 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 283 

years of age, was a remarkably fine and even handsome lad. They were 1820. 
rather scared at us at first; but kind treatment, and a few trifling pre- ..J^ 
sents, soon removed their fears, and made them almost as importunate as 
the rest. 

The dress of the men consists of a seal-skin jacket, with a hood which is 
occasionally draAvn over the head, of which it forms the only covering. 
The breeches are also generally of seal-skin, and are made to reach below the 
knee, and their boots which meet the breeches are made of the same ma- 
terial. In this dress we perceived no difierence from that of the other Es- 
quimaux, except that the jacket, instead of having a pointed flap before 
and behind, as usual, was quite straight behind, and had a sort of scollop 
before in the centre. In the dress of the women there was not so much 
regard to decency as in that of the men. The jacket is of seal-skin, with 
a short, pointed flap before, and a long one behind, reaching almost to 
the ground. They had on a kind of drawers, similar to those described by 
Crantz, as the summer-dress of the Greenland women, and no breeches. 
The drawers cover the middle part of the body, from the hips to one-third 
down the thigh, the rest of which is entirely naked nearly as far as the 
knee. The boots are like those of the men, and besides these they have 
a pair of very loose leggins, as they may be called, which hang down 
carelessly upon the top of the boots, suffering their thighs to be exposed in 
the manner before described, but which may be intended occasionally to 
fasten up, so as to complete the covering of the whole body. The children 
are all remarkably well clothed ; their dress, both in male and female, being 
in every respect the same as that of the men, and composed entirely of 
seal-skin, very neatly sewed. 

The tents which compose their summer-habitations, are principally sup- 
ported by a long pole of whalebone, fourteen feet high, standing perpen- 
dicularly, with four or five feet of it projecting above the skins which form 
the roof and sides. The length of the tent is seventeen, and its breadth 
from seven to nine feet, the narrowest part being next the door, and 
widening towards the inner part, where the bed, composed of a quantity 
of the small shrubby plant, the Andromeda Tetragona, occupies about 
one-third of the whole apartment. The pole of the tent is fixed where the 
bed commences, and the latter is kept separate by some pieces of bone laid 
across the tent from side to side. The door which faces the south-west, 
is also formed of two pieces of bone, with the upper ends fastened together. 



284 VOYAGE FOE, THE DISCOVERY 

1820. and the skins are made to overlap in that part of the tent, which is much lower 
,^J^^ than the inner end. The covering is fastened to the ground by curved 
pieces of bone, being generally parts of the whale ; the tents were ten or 
fifteen yards apart, and about the same distance from the beach. 

The canoe which I purchased, and which was one of the best of the 
five that we saw, is sixteen feet eleven inches in length, and its extreme 
breadth two feet one inch and a half; two feet of its fore-end are out of 
the water when floating. It differs from the canoe of Greenland, in being 
somewhat lower at each end, and also in having a higher rim or gun-wale, 
as it may be termed, round the circular hole where the man sits, which 
may make them somewhat safer at sea. Their construction is, in other 
respects, much the same ; the timbers, or ribs, which are five or six 
inches apart, as well as the fore and aft connecting pieces being of whale- 
bone or drift-wood, and the skins with which they were covered, those of 
the seal and Avalrus. When the canoes are taken on shore, they are carefully 
placed on two upright piles or pillars of stones, four feet high from the 
ground, in order to allow the air to pass under to dry them, and prevent 
their rotting. The paddle is double and made of fir, the edges of the blade 
being covered with hard bone to secure them from wearing. 

The spears or darts which they use in killing seals and other sea animals, 
consist, like the harpoons of our fishermen, of two parts, a staff*, and the 
spear itself; the former is usually of wood, when so scarce and valuable a 
commodity can be obtained, from three and a half to five feet in length, and 
the latter of bone, about eighteen inches long, sometimes tipped with iron, 
but more commonly ground to a blunt point at one end, while the other fits 
into a socket in the staff", to which it is firmly secured by thongs. The lines 
which they attach to their spears are very neatly cut out of seal-skins, and 
when in a state of preparation, are left to stretch till dry, between the tents, 
and then made up into coils for use. They make use of a bladder fastened 
to the end of the line, in the same manner as the other Esquimaux. Besides 
the spears, we purchased an instrument having a rude hook of iron let into a 
piece of bone, and secured by thongs to a staff", the hook being sharply 
pointed, but not barbed. While we were on the island (to which I had 
applied the name of Observation Island), it happened that a small bird flew 
near us, when one of the Esquimaux made the sign of shooting it with a 
bow and arrow, in a manner which could not be misunderstood. It is re- 
markable, therefore, that we could not find about their tents any of these 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 285 

weapons, except a little one five or six inches long, the bow being made of 1820 
whalebone, and the arrow of fir, with a feather at one end and a blunt point ,J^ 
of bone at the other, evidently appearing to be a child's toy, and intended, 
perhaps, to teach the use of it at an early age. 

The runners of the only sledge we saw were composed of the right and 
left jaw-bones of a young whale, being nine feet nine inches long, one foot 
seven inches apart, and seven inches high from the ground. They are con- 
nected by a number of parallel pieces, made out of the ribs of the whale, 
and secured transversely with seizings of whale-bone, so as to form the 
bottom of the sledge, and the back is made of two deer's horns placed in an 
upright position. The lower part of the runners is shod with a harder kind 
of bone, to resist the friction against the ground. The whole vehicle is 
rudely executed, and, being nearly twice the weight of the sledges we saw 
among the northern Esquimaux, is probably intended for carrying heavy 
burdens. The dogs were not less than fifty or sixty in number, and had 
nothing about them different from those on the eastern coast of Baffin's Bay, 
except that they do not stand near so high as those of the latitude of 76°. 
They are very shy and wild, and the natives had great difficulty in catching 
them while we were by, as well as holding them in when caught. Some 
of them have much more of the wolf in their appearance than others, having 
very long heads and sharp noses, with a brushy tail, almost always carried 
between the legs ; while the bodies of others are less lank, as well as 
their noses less sharp, and they carry their tails handsomely curled over their 
backs : their colour varied from quite dark to brindled. The ravenous 
manner in which they devour their food is almost incredible. Both the old 
and young ones, when a bird is given them, generally swallow feathers and 
all ; and an old dog that I purchased, though regularly fed while on board by a 
person appointed for that purpose, eat up, with great avidity, a large piece of 
canvass, a cotton handkerchief, which one of the men had just washed and laid 
doAvn by his side, and part of a check shirt. The young dogs will at any 
time kill themselves by over-eating, if permitted. The children appeared to 
have some right of property in the smaller puppies, or else their parents are 
very indulgent to them, for several bargains of this kind were made with 
them, without any objection or interference on the part of the parents, who 
were standing by at the time. 

Within a few stones, irregularly placed in a corner of each tent, was a lamp 
of oil and moss, and over each of these was suspended a small stone vessel 



g§8 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

of an oblong shape, and broader at the top than at the bottom, containing a 
large mess of sea-horse flesh, with a great quantity of thick gravy. Some 
ribs of this meat were by no means bad-looking, and but for the blood mixed 
with the gravy, and the dirt which accompanied the cooking, might perhaps 
be palatable enough. I bargained with a woman for one of the stone vessels, 
giving her a brass kettle in exchange. Before she gave it into my pos- 
session, she emptied the meat into another vessel, and then, with the flap of 
her jacket, wiped out the remains of the gravy ; thus combining with what 
our notions of cleanliness incline us to consider a filthy act, an intention of 
decency and a desire to oblige us, which, however inconsistent, it was still 
pleasing to observe. Some of their vessels are made of whale-bone, in a 
circular form, one piece being bent into the proper shape for the sides, and 
another flat piece of the same material, sewn to it for a bottom, so closely as 
to make it perfectly water-tight. Their knives are made of the tusks of the 
walrus, cut or ground sufficiently thin for the purpose, and retaining the 
original curve of the tusk, so as to resemble the little swords which children 
have as toys in England. As they do not appear to have any instrument 
like a saw, great time and labour must be required in making one of these 
knives, which seem to answer most of the purposes to which they have 
occasion to apply them. 

From the description given to us by Mr. Williamson, we found that these 
were the same persons who had been seen by the Lee's people ; but we 
had several proofs of their having had some previous communication, di- 
rectly or indirectly, with the civilized world ; such as some light blue beads, 
strung by themselves on thin leathern threads ; and an instrument for chopping, 
very much resembling a cooper's adze, which had evidently been secured 
to a handle of bone for some time past, and of which the iron was part 
of an old file. 

The short time which we were among them, as well as the want of an 
interpreter, prevented our obtaining much of the information which would 
have been interesting, respecting the language, manners, and number of this 
tribe of Esquimaux. They call the bear, nennook ; the deer, tooktook ; and 
the hare, ookalik ; being nearly the same words as those used on the eastern 
coast of Baffin's Bay. As it was considered a matter of some interest to ascer- 
tain whether they were acquainted with the musk-ox, a drawing of that animal 
was put before the men who were on board. The small size of it seemed, at 
first sight, to confound them ; but, as soon as a real head and horns were 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE, 287 

produced, they immediately recognised them, and eagerly repeated the word 
oomingmack, which at once satisfied us, that they knew the musk-ox, and that 
this was the animal spoken of by the Esquimaux of Greenland, under the 
same name, somewhat differently pronounced. 

To judge by their appearance, and what is perhaps a better criterion, the 
number of their children, there could be little doubt that the means of sub- 
sistence which they possess are very abundant; but of this we had more 
direct proof, by the quantity of sea-horses and seals which we found con- 
cealed under stones, along the shore of the north branch, as well as on 
Observation Island. Mr. Fife reported that, in sounding the north branch, 
he met with their winter-huts, about two miles above the tents on the 
same shore, and that they were partly excavated from a bank facing the sea, 
and the rest built round with stones. 

We saw no appearance of disease among the seventeen persons who 
inhabited the tents, except that the eyes of the old couple were rather blear, 
and a very young infant looked pale and sickly. The old man had a large 
scar on one side of his head, which he explained to us very clearly to be a 
wound he had received from a nennook (bear). Upon the whole, these people 
may be considered in possession of every necessary of life, as well as of most 
of the comforts and conveniences which can be enjoyed in so rude a state of 
society. In the situation and circumstances in which the Esquimaux of 
North Greenland are placed, there is much to excite compassion for the low 
state to which human nature appears to be there reduced ; a state in few 
respects superior to that of the bear or the seal, which they kill for their 
subsistence. But, with these, it was impossible not to experience a feeling 
of a more pleasing kind : there was a respectful decency in their general 
behaviour, which at once struck us as very different from that of the other 
untutored Esquimaux, and in their persons there was less of that in- 
tolerable filth by which these people are so generally distinguished. But 
the superiority for which they are the most remarkable is, the perfect honesty 
which characterized all their dealings with us. During the two hours that the 
men were on board, and for four or five hours that we were subsequently among 
them on shore, on both which occasions the temptation to steal from us was 
perhaps stronger than we can well imagine, and the opportunity of doing 
so by no means wanting, not a single instance occurred, to my knowledge, of 
their pilfering the most trifling article. It is pleasing to record a fact, no 
less singular in itself, than honourable to these simple people. 



.388 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

Having made the necessary observations, we went to the tents to take 
leave of our new acquaintance. The old man seemed quite fatigued with 
the day's exertions, but his eyes sparkled with delight, and we thought with 
gratitude too, on being presented with another brass kettle, to add to the 
stores with which we had already enriched him. He seemed to understand 
us when we shook him by the hand ; the whole group watched us in silence, 
as we went into the boat, and, as soon as we had rowed a few hundred yards 
from the beach, quietly retired to their tents. , 

The latitude observed upon Observation Island was 70° 21' 57", its longi- 
tude by chronometers being 68° 28' 33", and the variation of the magnetic 
needle 80° 59' 17" Westerly. The tide rose two feet from half-past nine till 
half-past twelve. In crossing over to the main land, we then found a con- 
siderable ripple on the water, as if occasioned by a tide setting against 
the wind to the westward, which was, therefore, probably the flood. During 
the time that we were on shore at the tents, the tide was falling, so that 
the time of high-water this day (being new moon) would appear to be 
between half-past twelve and half-past one o'clock. Having walked some 
distance up the shore of the north branch, we thought that the water did not 
taste very salt ; the specific gravity of that taken up near the ship at noon 
was 1.0223 at the temperature of 52°, and in the evening, a second experiment 
gave precisely the same result. In the particular chart of this fine inlet, 
which is annexed, it is not pretended to give an accurate delineation of the 
numerous islands and openings which it contains, our distance from the upper 
part of the inlet being too great, and our time too limited for this purpose. 
In stretching across from side to side, the water was found so deep, close 
to the shores, that no anchorage could be discovered, and in the middle 
was a depth of one hundred and fifty to two hundred fathoms ; nothing like 
a rock or danger of any kind could be perceived, as far as the ships proceeded. 

We bore up to run out of the inlet, at six P.M., passing between Observa- 
tion Island and another immediately to the northward of it, and having no 
bottom with the hand-leads in mid-channel ; off the north end of Observation 
Island, however, I found the water to shoal for about a hundred yards, and 
then deepen at once. Soon after we had cleared the inlet, the wind backed 
to the southward ; we, therefore, stood off to the eastward, and hove-to tilli 
day-light. The land to the southward of this inlet becomes low next the sea, 
in the same manner as that to the northward of it, and a similar regularity in 
the decrease of the soundings is observed in standing in-shore ; we had from 




''filker Scuip' 



288 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

Having made the necessary observations, we went to the tents to take 
leave of our new acquaintance. The old man seemed quite fatigued with 
the day's exertions, but his eyes sparkled with delight, and we thought Avith 
gratitude too, on being presented with another brass kettle, to add to the 
stores with which we had already enriched him. He seemed to understand 
us when we shook him by the hand ; the whole group watched us in silence, 
as we went into the boat, and, as soon as we had rowed a few hundred yards 
from the beach, quietly retired to their tents. 

The latitude observed upon Observation Island was 70° 21' 57", its longi- 
tude by chronometers being 68° 28' 33", and the variation of the magnetic 
needle 80° 59' 17" VTesterly. The tide rose two feet from half-past nine till 
half-past twelve. In crossing over to the main land, we then found a con- 
siderable ripple on the water, as if occasioned by a tide setting against 
the wind to the westward, which was, therefore, probably the flood. During 
the time that we were on shore at the tents, the tide was falling, so that 
the time of high-water this day (being new moon) would appear to be 
between half-past twelve and half-past one o'clock. Having walked some 
distance up the shore of the north branch, we thought that the water did not 
taste very salt ; the specific gravity of that taken up near the ship at noon 
was 1.0223 at the temperature of 52°, and in the evening, a second experiment 
gave precisely the same result. In the particular chart of this fine inlet, 
which is annexed, it is not pretended to give an accurate delineation of the 
numerous islands and openings which it contains, our distance from the upper 
part of the inlet being too great, and our time too limited for this purpose. 
In stretching across from side to side, the water was found so deep, close 
to the shores, that no anchorage could be discovered, and in the middle 
was a depth of one hundred and fifty to two hundred fathoms ; nothing like 
a rock or danger of any kind could be perceived, as far as the ships proceeded. 

We bore up to run out of the inlet, at six P.M., passing between Observa- 
tion Island and another immediately to the northward of it, and having no 
bottom with the hand-leads in mid-channel ; off the north end of Observation 
Island, however, I found the water to shoal for about a hundred yards, and 
then deepen at once. Soon after we had cleared the inlet, the wind backed 
to the southward ; we, therefore, stood off to the eastward, and hove-to till 
day -light. The land to the southward of this inlet becomes low next the sea, 
in the same manner as that to the northward of it, and a similar regularity in 
the decrease of the soundings is observed in standing in-shore ; we had from 



rnllfd 

THE RTVEK CO'UE 

irest Coa^i; cfBaffinr Bay 




OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 289 

fifty-seven to thirty-nine fathoms in the course of the night, in which depth 1820. 
we met with a number of icebergs aground. v,^^rv- 

The wind being contrary on the 8th, we made very little progress to the 
southward. The soundings continuing as regular as before, we stood in- 
shore to eleven fathoms, and put the trawl overboard for an hour or two in 
the afternoon, bringing up a great quantity of sea-eggs (Echini), a few very 
small oysters, and some marine insects, but nothing that could furnish us 
with a fresh meal. The net was much broken by the roughness of the 
bottom, which consisted of very coarse sand and small stones ; we tried it 
again in the evening, but with no better success. The weather was at this 
time remarkably fine and pleasant, and it was impossible for us not to con- 
trast our present climate with that against which we had to contend about the 
same period the preceding year. 

In proceeding to the southward, on the 9th, we passed a headland which, Sat. 9. 
like another I have before mentioned, has exactly the appearance of three 
islands, when seen from the northward ; a deception occasioned by three 
small hills near the point, situated upon comparatively low land. Having 
passed this headland, we discovered immediately to the southward of 
it a spacious bay or inlet, at least five or six leagues deep in the 
north-west part of it. The land at the bottom of this bay is high and 
mountainous, with every appearance of deep water near the shore ; but 
in proceeding along shore to the southward, it again becomes low next 
the sea, with hills at the back, and with the same safe and regular sound- 
ings as before. 

We hove-to at noon to observe the meridian altitude upon a floe of ice, 
the land being too near to obtain it by the natural horizon. The latitude 
was 69° 24' 37", and the longitude 67° 05' 43".6, being in thirty-five fathoms 
at five or six miles from the land. The water from the bottom was at the 
temperature of 31°, that of the surface being 32°i, and of the air 34°. The 
wind dying away soon after noon, gave us an opportunity of trying the 
current by a boat moored to the bottom in nineteen fathoms, when it was 
found to be running somewhat less than a mile an hour in a S. |E. direction. 
At forty minutes past four P.M., it was again tried in a similar manner, when 
it was setting to the S.E., at the rate of three-quarters of a mile per hour ; 
and, at seven o'clock, when we hove-to near Cape Kater, for the Griper to 
join us, we found it to be slack water. We stood off and on during the 
night, having from thirteen to twenty fathoms' water, with the intention of 



290 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. examining the large inlet which opens to the southward of Cape Kater. It 
s^J^ now became obvious, that what had been mistaken for banks near Cape 
Kater on the preceding voyage were, in reality, only the regular shore sound- 
ings, which are in no respect different from those which occur in the whole 
space between this inlet and the river Clyde, at the same distance from the 
land. These soundings had appeared to indicate banks in 1818, because Ave 
came into them from an offing of several leagues ; whereas, had we been running 
along shore, as in the present instance, we should have found a similar depth 
for near a hundred miles to the northward of Cape Kater, except at the 
mouths of the inlets where the water is always very deep. 

There was a great deal of loose ice, and many bergs on this part of the 
coast ; but we did not meet with the same obstruction off Cape Kater as on 
the former voyage. Several young black whales and a seal were seen in 
the course of the day. 
Sun. 10. The wind being fresh and squally down the inlet, on the morning of the 
10th, a press of sail was carried, for the purpose of examining it ; but in the 
course of the forenoon we were obliged to close-reef the topsails, and send 
down the top-gallant-yards. We found this immense bay crowded with 
islands, which, together with its numerous openings, would require a con- 
siderable time to survey them accurately, and of the position of which, there- 
fore, only a general idea is given in the annexed chart. Towards noon, a haze 
which had been resting over the western horizon cleared away, and we saw 
the land nearly all round the bay ; but the distance at which we were was too 
great to enable us to ascertain satisfactorily its absolute continuity. Such, 
indeed, was the appearance of this magnificent inlet, of which the width of 
the entrance is not less than fifteen leagues, that it is highly probable some 
outlet may be found through it from Baffin's Bay into the Polar Sea ; the 
strong westerly wind, and the intention I had fornied of exploring this coast 
in a lower latitude, particularly about Cumberland Strait, prevented any 
further examination of it on this occasion. We crossed over, therefore, to 
the south shore, where we stood off and on till day-light should enable us 
to proceed to the southward. We passed, in the course of the day, the carcass 
of a dead whale, on which the fulmar petrels and ivory-gulls were feeding, in 
great numbers. 
Moil. 11. As soon as day -light appeared, we took advantage of a light westerly 
breeze to stand to the south-east under all sail, but had soon the mortifica- 
tion to perceive that a compact body of floe-ice obstructed our passage to 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 291 

the southward, stretching close in to the land a few miles a-head of us. At I820. 
noon we were in latitude, by observation, 68° 19' 45", and longitude, by ^,J^ 
chronometers, 66° 05' 45", in two hundred and seventy-five fathoms, muddy 
bottom. The temperature of the sea at the depth of one hundred and 
forty-six fathoms, was 34°, the surface being at 32°, and the air 34°. This 
experiment differing from those which we had lately made as to the com- 
parative temperature, we tried again in one hundred and sixty-five fathoms, 
and found it exactly the same as before. It must be remarked that, for each 
of the last three days, and for these only, we had found the ship between 
seven and eight miles to the southward of the reckoning. 

The wind having fallen, we made little progress to the south-east, till the Tues. 12, 
morning of the 12th, when a light breeze springing-up from the south-west, all 
sail was made to examine the state of the ice. On approaching the floes, how- 
ever, we found such a quantity of bay ice, the formation of which upon the 
surface had been favoured by the late calm weather, that the Hecla was soon 
stopped altogether, a circumstance which gave us, as usual, much trouble in 
extricating ourselves from it, but not very material as regarded our further 
progress to the southward, the floes being found to stretch quite close in to the 
land, leaving no passage whatever between them. At noon we were still no 
farther to the southward than 68° 15' 20", and in longitude 65° 48' 38", the 
foi-mer agreeing very well with the reckoning. I was desirous of taking ad- 
vantage of our present unavoidable detention, to make a set of observations 
on the irregularities of the magnetic needle on board the Hecla ; but the 
young ice remained so tough during the day, notwithstanding the weather 
was calm and clear, with the thermometer at 65° in the sun in the course of 
the afternoon, that it was found impracticable to turn the ship's head in the 
desired direction for that purpose. The compasses now traversed very freely, 
and were made use of for the purposes of navigation, in the ordinary way ; an 
account of the variation observed on different courses, as occasion offered, 
will be found among the other observations in the Appendix. 

Soon after ten P.M., the Aurora Borealis made its appearance ; I am in- 
debted to Captain Sabine for the following description of this phenomenon : 
" The Aurora was visible for upwards of half an hour, its appearance being 
comprised within about twelve points of the heavens, from S.E.b.E. toW.b.N., 
the magnetic north being about N. 76°. W. The character of this pheno- 
menon was peculiar, being distinguished from those which we were accustomed 
to see at Melville Island, by the far greater rapidity with which it spread and 



292 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

shifted from one part of the heavens to another; by the depth and vividness 
of the colours, both of red and green, with which its coruscations were 
tinted ; and by its streamers breaking out unexpectedly in places previously 
obscure, and extending indifferently downwards as well as upwards. The 
latter distinction was contrasted with the more usual appearance of rays 
streaming towards the zenith, from an arch of faintly brilliant light. An 
Aurora of similar appearance was observed in the Atlantic during the return 
of the Isabella, in October 1818, from Davis' Strait to Shetland. The pecu- 
liarities of the present phenomenon were more marked in the commencement 
than towards the conclusion of its appearance." 

Wed. 13. On the 13th, which was nearly calm, the bay-ice had so much in- 
creased in thickness that the Hecla could not be moved through it, with 
the assistance of the boats, two of which were rendered unserviceable by 
the ice cutting their planks. We were off a small inlet, which, together 
with some islands discovered on this part of the coast, will be found upon 
the chart. 

Thur. 14. On the l-ith, having been set at liberty from the bay-ice by a breeze 
springing up, I determined to occupy no more time in the endeavour to get 
immediately along shore to the south-east, where the obstructions remained 
as before, but to run back a short distance along the ice to the northward, in 
order to endeavour to get round it if possible, and then to stretch in again 
towards the land. The ice had closed so much all round us, however, that 
we had some difficulty in finding a passage out of our present confined situ- 
ation, which we at length effected before noon, passing by a chain of ice- 
bergs which were found to be aground in thirty-five to fifty fathoms, ^n,d 
which extending four or five leagues from the shore, sufficiently account for 
the obstruction offered by the floes in this place. 

The temperature of the water at the bottom in thirty-five fathoms was 31°|, 
on the surface 32°, that of the air being 34°. A small fish, apparently of the 
whiting kind, was seen upon a piece of ice, and a great many black whales 
were near us in the course of this and the preceding day. 

The extraordinary fine and clear weather which we experienced In the 
first fortnight of September is a circumstance worthy of remark : during that 
period, we had very little snow, and not one whole day's foggy weather. 
The fog was, perhaps, in some measure, avoided by keeping close in shore, 
as we occasionally perceived fog-banks in the ofiing, while we were enjoying 
clear weather near the land. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 293 

In attempting to sail to the eastward, we found the ice become more and 
more close, and a fog with sleet coming on obliged me to make the ships fast 
to a floe of considerable extent, and five or six feet in thickness, being in^"*^" '^' 
latitude, by account, 68° 24' 18", and longitude 63° 32' 42". We had here 
no bottom with six hundred and ten fathoms of line ; the temperature of the 
sea at one hundred and seventy fathoms was 30°|, that of the surface being 
the same, and of the air 31°. 

As the sun was occasionally visible, notwithstanding the fog, a set of ob- 
servations was begun for ascertaining the variation of the magnetic needle 
on board the Hecla ; but these could with difficulty be obtained on ten 
points of the compass, after which the sun became again obscured. The 
thermometer fell to 23° at night, which was lower than we had before 
experienced it in the course of this month, and the fog froze hard upon the 
rigging. 

The fog continued so thick on the 16th, as to oblige us to keep the ships Sat. 16. 
fast to the floe. In the afternoon the deep-sea clamms were sent down to 
the bottom with two thousand and ten fathoms of line, which were fifty-eight 
minutes in running out, during which time no perceptible check could be 
observed, nor even any alteration in the velocity with which the line ran out. 
In hauling it in again, however, which occupied both ships' companies above 
an hour and a half, we found such a quantity of the line covered with mud 
as to prove that the whole depth of water was only eight hundred and nine 
fathoms, the rest of the line having continued to run out by its own weio-ht, 
after the instmment had struck the ground. I have before had occasion to 
remark that, on this account, it is not easy to ascertain the actual depth of 
the sea in the usual manner, when it exceeds five or six hundred fathoms. 
A self-registering thermometer, which remained at the bottom for two hours 
and three-quarters, indicated a temperature of 27° *, that of the surface being 
31°, and of the air 34°. Some cabes of wood, whose sides measured two 
inches, were also attached to the clamms, in order to try what increase of 
weight each kind would acquire by the pressure of the water at a great 
depth ; the result, as ascertained by Mr. Edwards, is shewn in the follow- 
ing table : — 

* The instrument with which this experiment was made had been a good deal used 
for the same purpose, and did not, perhaps, indicate the temperature with very great 
accuracy. 



294< 



VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 



1820. 
Sept. 





Original 


Weight on 


Increase 


Weight 


Decrease 




weight in 


coming to 


of 


three hours 


in those 




grains. 


the surface. 


weight. 


afterwards. 


three hours. 


Ash . . . 


1425 


2324 


899 


2291 


33 


Fir . . . 


863 


2112 


1249 


1964 


148 


Oak . . . 


1421 


2252 


831 


2201 


51 


Elm . . . 


1220 


2299 


1079 


2201 


98 



Sun. 17. The wind shifting to the south-west on the morning of the 17th, we were 
nearly beset by the loose ice closing upon us, the ships being now on the 
windward side of the floe. After four hours' labour we succeeded in getting 
clear, and made sail among loose ice to the south-east. This course, how- 
ever, we were not able to continue long, as the ice led us, in the course of 
the day, considerably to the northward; and, in the evening, an iceberg 
was selected, out of the numerous ones in sight, to which the ships were 
made fast before dark, it being impossible to keep them under-way during 
the night. We were not sorry to find some swell affecting the ships, such 
as we had not before experienced for more than twelve months, affording an 
indication of an open sea at no great distance from us. The loose and heavy 
pieces of ice which drifted-in under the lee of the berg, and on which the 
ships occasionally struck with some force, kept the people constantly em- 
ployed during the night, in veering and heaving in to avoid coming in 
contact with them. Some bears were heard growling upon the berg, and 
some seals, ivory -gulls, 'and little auks, the latter in small flocks, were seen 
in the course of the day. 
Mon. 18. On the 18th, the weather continued too foggy to move the ships in the 
forenoon. We tried for soundings with eight hundred and ninety-seven 
fathoms of line, without finding bottom; our latitude, by account, being 
68° 24' 03" ; longitude 63° 08' 12". The temperature of the sea at the depth 
of three hundred and eighteen fathoms, was 30°, that of the surface being 
the same, and of the air 29°. 

Soon after noon, the weather being somewhat less foggy, we cast off and 
made sail to the eastward. The ice here consisted generally of loose but 
heavy pieces, among which there was scarcely room to sail, and here and 
there a floe which obliged us to make several tacks. We also passed several 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 295 

square pieces of floe-ice, which had evidently been cut out of a dock by 1820. 
some of the whalers in the course of the present season. The ships were ^f^^ 
secured to a berg at six P.M., and the wind having freshened up to a gale 
from the N.W.b.N., Avith some swell, we were much annoyed during the 
night by the ice which drifted under the lee of it, and on which the ships 
were constantly striking with a heavy shock, such as no others could long 
have withstood. This danger is avoided by ships lying very close under the 
lee of a berg, but a much greater is thereby incurred from the risk of the 
berg's upsetting ; a circumstance which is always to be apprehended in a 
swell, and which must be attended with certain destruction to a ship moored 
very near to it. 

At day-light on the 19th, we cast off from the berg, and occupied the Avhole Tues. 19. 
of the day in unsuccessful attempts to get through the ice in to the land, of 
which we could only obtain a very distant glimpse, bearing from S. 24° W. to 
S. 69° W. By hauling to the north-eastward, we got into sufficiently clear 
water to enable me to keep the ships under way during the night ; but, the 
wind falling light, great attention was requisite in avoiding the icebergs, which 
were numerous, and of large dimensions. 

The weather was so thick with snow on the 20th, that we could make no Wed. 20. 
progress. At noon, being in latitude 68° 12' 11", and longitude 60° .50' 19", 
no soundings could be obtained with seven hundred and seventy fathoms of 
line. The temperature of the sea, at the depth of three hundred and eigh- 
teen fathoms, was 33°, that of the surface being 32°, and of the air 31°|. 
On the following day we sounded in two hundred fathoms, on a bottom ofxhur. 21. 
very fine sand and broken shells, and found the temperature of some water 
brought up from that depth in Dr. Marcet's bottle, to be 33°| ; that of the air 
at the same time was 30°, and of the surface-water 34°^, being the warmest 
we had observed for a considerable time. 

On the 23d, having run to the southward nearly as far as the latitude of Sat. 23. 
Mount Raleigh, without being able to approach the land, the trending of the 
ice flattered us for some time with the hope of getting in with the coast ; but 
at two P.M. we came to a compact and impenetrable body of it, over which 
we could not see any clear water from the mast-head, and which obliged us 
to haul off" to the south-eastward. 

On the 244h and 25th we continued our progress to the southward, but 
without any better success in approaching, or even getting sight of, the land ; 
the ice being as close and compact as when we sailed along the margin of it 



296 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. in July of the preceding year. Soon after noon on the 24th, we crossed the 
v.^,^^ Arctic Circle, having been within it fourteen months and three weeks ; and at 
24&25. jj^jQjj (jjj ^jjg 25^jj ^^^ reached the latitude of 66° 13' 14", being two miles and 
three-quarters to the southward of the dead reckoning, which difference had 
occurred on each of the twelve preceding days. 
Tues. 26. On the morning of the 26th we again stood to the westward as much as the 
ice would allow, but were soon obliged by it to keep away to the southward, 
precluding every hope of making the land on that part of the coast which it would 
have been most interesting to have explored. At noon we were in latitude 
65° 41' 09", and longitude, by chronometer, 59° 09' 54'. In the afternoon, 
after various attempts to get to the westward, appearances became more 
unpromising than ever, the packed ice extending from N.b.E. round to 
S.W. There were, indeed, parts of this ice which, with constant day-light, 
a ship might have entered with some probability of success ; but, with 
twelve hours' night, the attempt must have been attended with a degree 
of risk, which nothing but a very important object could justify. The wind 
had now freshened up from the N.N.W., and the mercury in the barometer 
fell with unusual rapidity, with every other appearance of an approaching 
gale. I was, therefore, under the necessity of admitting the conclusion that, 
under existing circumstances, the season was now too far advanced, and the 
state of the ice too unfavourable to allow of any further examination of the 
coast ; and I determined, therefore, to make the best of my way to England. 
The boats were accordingly hoisted in, and the ships made snug, while in 
smooth water, under the lee of the ice, and a course was then shaped to 
the E.S.E., in order to obtain an offing, before we bore away to the 
southward. 



Having now finally -taken leave of the ice, it may be proper to offer 
a few brief remarks as to the probable existence and accomplishment of a 
North-West Passage into the Pacific Ocean. Of the existence of such a 
passage, and that the outlet will be found at Behring's Strait, it is scarcely 
Dossible, on an inspection of the map, with the addition of our late dis- 
coveries, and in conjunction with those of Cook and Mackenzie, any longer 
to entertain a reasonable doubt. In discovering one outlet from Baffin's Bay 
into the Polar Sea, and finding that sea studded with numerous islands. 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 297 

another link has at least been added to the chain of evidence upon which 1820. 
o-eographers have long ventured to delineate the northern coast of America, ^5^ 
by a dotted line from Icy Cape westward, to the rivers of Mackenzie and 
Hearne, and thence to the known part of the coast to the north of Hudson's 
Bay, in the neighbourhood of Wager River ; while, at the same time, con- 
siderable progress has been made towards the actual accomplishment of 
the desired passage, which has for nearly three centuries engaged the atten- 
tion of the maritime nations of Europe. 

The success which attended our efforts during the season of 1819, after 
passing through Sir James Lancaster's Sound, was such as to inspire even 
the least sanguine among us with a reasonable hope of the complete accom- 
plishment of our enterprise, before the close of the next season. In enter- 
taining such a hope, however, we had not rightly calculated on the severity 
of the climate with which we had to contend, and on the consequent short- 
ness of the season, (not exceeding seven weeks), in which it is possible 
to perform the navigation of that part of the Polar Sea. Although it 
must be admitted, that there is something peculiar about the south-west 
end of Melville Island, extremely unfavourable to navigation, yet it is also 
certain, that the obstructions we met with from ice, both as to its thickness 
and extent, were found generally to increase, as we proceeded westward, 
after passing through Barrow's Strait. That we should find this to be 
the case, might perhaps have been reasonably anticipated, because the 
proximity to a permanently-open sea appears to be the circumstance which, 
of all others, tends the most to temper the severity of the Polar regions, in 
any given parallel of latitude. On this account I should always expect to meet 
with the most serious impediments about mid- way, between the Atlantic and 
Pacific Oceans ; and having once passed that barrier, I should as confidently 
hope to find the difficulties lessen in proportion as we advanced towards the 
latter sea; especially as it is well known, that the climate of any given 
parallel on that side of America is, no matter from what cause, very many de- 
grees more temperate than on the eastern coast. 

But, although it is evident, that climate does not wholly depend on 
latitude, but on other circumstances also, (principally, perhaps, those of 
locality above-mentioned,) yet it can scarcely be doubted that, on any 
meridian to the north of America, for instance, 114° west where we were 
stopped, the general climate would be found somewhat better, and the na- 
vigable season longer, in the latitude of 69° than in that of 75°, near which 

4Q 



^8 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. we wintered. For this reason, it would perhaps be desirable, that ships en- 
'^^^' deavouring to reach the Pacific by this route, should keep, if possible, on the 
coast of America, and the lower in latitude that coast may be found, the 
more favourable will it prove for this purpose. 

Our experience, I think, has clearly shewn that the navigation of the Polar 
Seas can never be performed with any degree of certainty, without a continuity 
of land. It was only by watching the occasional openings between the ice 
and the shore, that our late progress to the westward was effected ; and 
had the land continued iff the desired direction, there can be no question 
that we should have continued to advance, however slowly, towards the 
completion of our enterprise. In this respect, therefore, as well as in the 
improvement to be expected in the climate, there would be a manifest 
advantage in making the attempt on the coast of America, where we are sure 
that the land will not fail us. The probability of obtaining occasional sup- 
plies of wood, game, and anti-scorbutic plants ; the chance of being enabled 
to send information by means of the natives ; and the comparative facility with 
which the lives of the people might be saved, in case of serious and irre- 
parable accidents happening to the ships, are also important considerations, 
which naturally serve to recommend this route. Should the sea on the coast 
of America be found moderately deep, and shelving towards the shore, 
(which, from the geological character of the known parts of the continent to 
the south, and of the Georgian Islands to the north, there is reason to believe 
would be the case for a considerable distance to the westward), the facility 
of navigation would be much increased, on account of the grounding of the 
heavy masses of ice in water sufficiently deep to allow the ships to take shelter 
behind them, at such times as the floes close in upon the land. Farther to the 
westward, where the primitive formation, and perhaps even a continuation 
of the Rocky Mountains, is to be expected, a steep and precipitous shore 
would probably occur, a circumstance which the foregoing narrative has shewn 
to be attended with much comparative uncertainty and risk. 

The question which naturally arises, in the next place, relates to the most 
likely means of getting to the coast of America, so as to sail along its shores. 
It would, in this respect, be desirable to find an outlet from the Atlantic into 
the Polar Sea, as nearly as possible in the parallel of latitude in which the 
northern coast of America may be supposed to lie ; as, however, we do 
not know of any such outlet from Baffin's Bay, about the parallels of 69° 
to 70°, the attempt is, perhaps, to be made with better chance of success in a 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 299 

still lower latitude, especially as there is a considerable portion of coast that 1820, 
may reasonably be supposed to offer the desired communication, which yet v.^^ 
remains unexplored. Cumberland Strait, the passage called Sir Thomas 
Rowe's Welcome, lying between Southampton Island and the coast of 
America, and Repulse Bay, appear to be the points most worthy of attention ; 
and, considering the state of uncertainty in which the attempts of former 
navigators have left us, with regard to the extent and communication of these 
openings, one cannot but entertain a reasonable hope, that one, or perhaps 
each of them, may afford a practicable passage into the Polar Sea, 

So little indeed is known of the whole of the northern shore of Hudson's 
Strait, which appears, from the best information, to consist chiefly of islands, 
that the geography of that part of the world may be considered altogether 
undetermined ; so that an Expedition which should be sent to examine 
those parts, would soon arrive upon ground never before visited, and in 
which, from an inspection of the map in its present state, there certainly 
does seem more than an equal chance of finding the desired passage. It 
must be admitted, however, that any notions we may form upon this 
question, amount after all to no more than conjecture. As far as regards 
the discovery of another outlet into the Polar Sea, to the southward of Sir 
James Lancaster's Sound, it is evident that the enterprise is to be begun 
again ; and we should be cautious, therefore, in entertaining too sanguine a 
hope of finding such a passage, the existence of which is still nearly as un- 
certain as it was two hundred years ago, and which possibly may not 
exist at all. 

In the course of the foregoing narrative, it may have been remarked, that 
the westerly and north-westerly winds were always found to produce the 
effect of clearing the southern shores of the North Georgian islands of ice, 
while they always brought with them clear weather, which is essentially 
necessary in prosecuting discoveries in such a navigation. This circum- 
stance, together with the fact of our having sailed back in six days from the 
meridian of Winter Harbour to the entrance of Sir James Lancaster's Sound, 
a distance which it required five weeks to traverse when going in the oppo- 
site direction, seems to offer a reasonable ground for concluding, that an 
attempt to effect the north-west passage might be made, with a better chance 
of success, from Behring's Strait, than from this side of America. There are 
some circumstances, however, which, in my opinion, render this mode of 
proceeding altogether impracticable, at least for British ships. The principal 



Wb VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. of these arises from the length of the voyage which must first be performed, 
.,J^P^ in order to arrive at the point where the work is to be begun. After such 
a voyage, admitting that no serious wear and tear have been experienced, 
the most important part of a ship's resources, namely, the provisions and fuel, 
must be very materially reduced, and this without the possibility of renew- 
ing them to the extent necessary for such a service, and which can alone 
give confidence in the performance of an enterprise of which the nature is so 
precarious and uncertain. 

Nor should it be forgotten how injurious to the health of the crews, so sudden 
•and extreme a change of climate would in all probability prove, as that 
which they must necessarily experience in going at once from the heat of the 
torrid zone into the intense cold of a long winter upon the northern shores 
of America. Upon the whole, therefore, I cannot but consider that any ex- 
pedition, equipped by Great Britain with this view, will act with. greater 
advantage, by at once employing its best energies in the attempt to pene- 
trate from the eastern coast of America, along its northern shore. 

Whatever may be the result of any future attempt to decide this great 
geographical question, experience has shewn that, independently of any 
benefit which science may derive from such attempts, those already made 
have not been altogether without their use also in a commercial point 
of view. Previously to the return of the Expedition of 1818 from Baffin's 
Bay, the whale-fishery in that sea was almost entirely confined, during the 
best part of the summer-season, to the eastern or Greenland shores, where, 
at no very distant period, the number of whales was found sufficient to afford 
abundant employment for the numerous fleet of ships which are annually em- 
ployed in this trade. For some years past, however, it has been observed, 
that it requires a much greater share of exertion than formerly, to procure the 
same supply of whales, these animals having been scared from South -East 
and North-East Bays, and the other southern parts of the coast of Greenland, 
which only a few years ago were considered a sure and abundant fishery, and 
retired to the northern and western parts of Baffin's Bay, where they have 
hitherto been but little molested. Such, indeed, is the general want of success 
on the old ground, that it is a common complaint among our whalers, that 
this fishery appears to be well nigh worn out. Above forty sail of ships 
accompanied the Expedition of 1818 up the coast of Greenland, nearly as 
high as the latitude of 76°, where the whales were found to be so abundant, 
as amply to repay the labour and exertions, by which our fishermen had sue- 



^ OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 301 

ceeded in penetrating thus far through more than ordinary obstructions from 18'20. 
ice. Encouraged by this success, and by the knowledge of our having subse- ^^ 
quently crossed to the western coast of Baffin's Bay without much dif- 
ficulty, the whalers began to extend their views beyond what had formerly 
been considered the utmost limits of the fishery, and accordingly in 1819, 
succeeded in penetrating the barrier of ice which occupies the centre of 
Baffin's Bay, and for the first time sailed over into Sir James Lancaster's 
Sound, and some of the other bays and inlets upon the same coast. In the 
course of that year's navigation, no less than fourteen ships were wrecked among 
the ice, but fortunately only one or two lives were lost. Not discouraged, 
however, by this disaster, the enterprising spirit of our fishermen led them, 
again, in 1820, to make the attempt to range over the whole of the northern 
and western parts of the bay in quest of whales. Such was the well-earned 
success which attended their efforts, that, in the course of that season, 
scarcely a nook or corner of this extensive bay remained unvisited by them. 
Mr. Bell in the Friendship, of Hull, whom I have before had occasion to 
mention, and one or two other of the ships sailed up to its very northern- 
most limits, entered Whale Sound, and were close off the entrance of Sir 
Thomas Smith's Sound ; an exploit which has never before been performed since 
Baffin first discovered these inlets, above two hundred years ago. It has 
been seen, in the course of the foregoing narrative, in what situation we met 
with several of the ships on our return down the western coast in the autumn 
of 1820. The success which they met with on this occasion was such as has 
seldom occurred in the Davis' Strait fishery in any former season ; and thus 
has a new and extensive field been opened for one of the most lucra- 
tive branches of our commerce, and, what is of scarcely less importance, 
one of the most valuable nurseries for seamen which Great Britain pos- 
sesses. Nothing, indeed, can exceed the bold and enterprising spirit dis- 
played by our fishermen in the capture of the whale. At whatever 
time of night of day, a whale is announced by the look-out man in 
the crow's-nest, the men instantly jump into the boats, frequently with 
their clothes in their hand, and with an alacrity scarcely equalled even 
in the most highly-disciplined fleet, push on in pursuit of the whale, regard- 
less of cold and wet, and hunger, for hours, and sometimes days together. 
Nor is it solely on occasions where their immediate interest is concerned, 
that this activity is displayed by them. It happened, on the voyage of 
1818, that in endeavouring to pass between the land and a body of ice 



302 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

which was rapidly closing the shore, the Alexander, then under my com- 
mand, touched the ground just at the critical moment when it was necessary 
to push through the narrow and uncertain passage. It being nearly calm, 
the boats were sent a-head to tow, but the little way which they could give 
the ship was not sufficient to have rescued lis in time from the approaching 
danger, and nothing less than the wreck of the ship was every moment to 
be expected. Several sail of whalers were following astern ; but seeing the 
dangerous situation in which the Alexander was placed, and the impossibility 
of getting through themselves, they instantly put about into the clear water 
which we had just left, and, before we had time to ask for assistance, no 
less than fourteen boats, many of them with the masters of the ships them- 
selves attending in them, placed themselves promptly a-head of the Alex- 
ander, and by dint of the greatest exertion towed her off into clear water, at 
the rate of three or four miles an hour, not one minute too soon to prevent 
the catastrophe we had anticipated. 

The opening of a new whale-fishery on the western coast of Baffin's Bay, 
which constitutes an important era in the history of that trade, and for which 
the country is indebted to the researches of the expedition of 1818, under 
the command of Captain Ross, will, perhaps, render expedient a new mode 
of proceeding in the annual visits of our ships to this part of the Polar 
regions. It has hitherto been customary for a certain number of those 
intended for the Davis' Strait fishery, to occupy the early part of the season in 
what is called " the south-west," which is that part of the sea immediately 
to the eastward of Resolution Island, and in that neighbourhood. The ships 
frequently appear on tliis ground as early as the first of April, when the 
nights are long, the weather extremely cold and inclement, and with a 
heavy sea occasionally rolling in upon them from the Atlantic, making this, 
perhaps, upon the whole, the most severe fishery which is any where used 
by our whalers. They generally remain upon this coast, as near as the ice 
will permit them, till about the first or second week in June, not without 
considerable wear and tear to the ships, and the most harassing fatigue to 
the men, but seldom with a proportionate degree of success to repay their 
toil. After this, they strike over to the eastern or Greenland side, and 
prosecute the fishery on that coast in the usual way. I cannot but consider, 
that this " south-west" fishery might now be advantageously dispensed with 
altogether, and the expense of wages, provisions, and wear and tear, for the 
months of April, May, and June, entirely saved to the owners, or employed 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 303 

in some more beneficial manner. By entering Davis' Strait no earlier than 
the first week in July, I feel confident, that a ship may ensure a " payable" 
cargo of fish before the end of the season, without incurring half the anxiety 
or risk which must always attend the navigation of that sea at an earlier 
period of the season. By doing this, a ship may, as I have before had 
occasion to remark, perhaps, reach the latitude of 73° or 74°, about the 
20th or 25th of July, with very little obstruction from ice. In the course 
of this passage, it is, indeed, more than probable, that not a single 
whale will be met with, even though the ship should keep the whole way 
along the eastern margin of the ice. Not discouraged, however, by this 
circumstance, let her, on her arrival about the parallel of 73°, boldly enter 
the ice wherever it seems the most promising for getting through it to the 
western coast. In adopting this measure, there is doubtless much risk to 
encounter, but not more than in pushing on to the northward into Prince 
Regent's Bay, where, from the peculiar conformation of the land, which is 
extremely favourable for the retention of the ice, a serious obstruction may 
always be expected. 

■ In effecting a passage through the central barrier of ice in Baffin's Bay, 
it is possible that one, two, or, in some seasons, even three weeks may be 
occupied ; while in others, as in the year 1820, nothing but " sailing ice" 
may be found in a high latitude, through which a ship makes her way 
without difficulty. Having once effected this passage, however, there will, 
I apprehend, be still more than sufficient time for the accomplishment of 
their object, except in very unfavourable seasons, for we have the experience 
of three following years for asserting that an open sea will be found at that 
period to the westward, while the number of whales which we met with 
on that side of the bay seems likely to ensure .to them, at least for some 
time to come, an easy and abundant fishery. For this purpose, however, the 
ships should be directed not to be in a hurry to leave the coast until the 
latter end of September, that month being by far the best in the year for the 
navigation of Davis' Strait and Baffin's Bay, and consequently affording greater 
facility, and much less risk, in the capture of whales. The apprehension 
which has, I believe, been entertained by some of the ship-owners, of their 
vessels being caught in the ice, so as to prevent their return, in consequence 
of remaining too late, is, as far as I have had an opportunity of judging, 
altogether without foundation, unless their stay be extended considerably 
beyond the period I have mentioned. 



304 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

How far the plan suggested above may be considered advantageous, as' 
regards a late or an early market for the oil, or whether more profit may 
be expected by employing the ships in making a Baltic voyage, as is some- 
times the case, after that from Davis' Strait is completed, than is likely to 
result from a full cargo of blubber at the end of the season, are circumstances 
of which I am not competent to form a judgment, and which must be left to the 
consideration of the ship-owners themselves. I shall only, therefore, add on 
this subject, that it has been suggested to me by one of those gentlemen, that a 
ship might, perhaps, be employed to great advantage, by occupying the 
early part of the season (till the middle of June, for instance,) at Spitzbergen, 
and then running down into Davis' Strait, to complete her fishery in the 
way Ihave proposed. 



Wed. 27. We ran to the southward and eastward with a fresh and favourable breeze, 
and without meeting with any ice after leaving its main body, except one or 
two icebergs, and a few straggling pieces which, however, make it neces- 
sary to be very cautious in running at night, especially when there is any 
sea, the breaking of which cannot easily be distinguished from a mass of ice. 
On some occasions, therefore, it was necessary to heave-to for a few hours 
at night, a precaution which I should always recommend in the latter part of 
the season, till a ship has passed well to the eastward of Cape Farewell. It 
is remarked by the whalers, that they usually have a gale of wind to en- 
counter off this headland in returning home from their fishery, which has 
also occurred on the two occasions on which I have passed it at this 
season. On the 30th of September, in the evening, there was every appear- 
ance of unfavourable weather, and the ships were made snug before dark. 
Soon after this, a gale came on from the northward and westward, which 

October. Continued to blow hard, with little intermission, during the 1st and 2d of 
1.&2. October. The fall of the mercury in the barometer was, on this occasion, 
very gradual, and scarcely such, perhaps, as to be considered a fair warning 
of an approaching gale, being only from 29.49 at noon on the 30th, to 
29.38 at six P.M., and 29.31 at midnight. On the morning of the 2d, it 
had fallen to 28.66, at which time the gale had been blowing hard for 
more than twenty-four hours. The wind had somewhat moderated on the 



ABSTRACT of the METEOROLOGICAL JOURNAL kept on board His Majesty's Ship Hecla, at Sea, 

during the Month oi September, 1820. 



Temperature of Air 
in shade. 



33 
35.5 



31.67 

31. C2 

33.92 

33.54 

36.12 

30.54 

31.67 

28.71 

31.37 

32.58 

32.67 

31.17 

31.29 

31.96 

31.00 

30.58 

31..!fi 

29.21 

31.12 

30.12 

30.58 

30.96 

31.42 

32.50 

32.67 

30.50 

31.29 

32.33 

34.83 

36.79 



Sea Water at the 
surface. 



rcmpo- Specific Tempera. 
Uravity. '^'"^'Jjj.' 



30.7 

32.4 

33.9 

33.7 

33.9 

32.7 

32.7 

32.7 

32.2 

32 

31.5 

31.6 

31.3 

31.5 

30 

30.6 

30.5 

30.5 

30.9 

32.1 

32.8 

32.1 

31.7 

32 

33 

33.5 

36.2 

39.4 

40.8 

41.5 



1.0246 
1.0243 
1.0242 
1.0240 
1.0233 

1.0223 
1.0223 
1.0227 
1.0236 
1.0202 
1.0174 
1.0170 
1.0225 
1.0243 
1.0243 
1.0212 
1.0243 
1.0249 
1.0248 

1.0255 
1.0250 
1.0250 
1.0261 
1.0254 
1.0259 
1.0266 



29.83' 

29.89 

29.83 

29.71 

29.09 

29.70 

29.73 

29.61 

29.76 

29.81 

29.69 

29.52 

29.73 

29.82 

29.74 

29.72 

29.56 

29.48 

29.49 

29.62 

29.60 

29.57 

29.72 

29.77 

29.50 

29.35 

29.38 

29.56 

29.66 

29.49 



inches 
29.75 

29.82 

29.73 

29.63 

29.63 

29.64 

29.62 

29.56 

29.59 

29.73 

29.50 

29.47 

29.62 

29.73 

29.59 

29.50 

29.49 

29.25 

29.32 

29.50 

29.55 

29.55 

29.49 

29.46 

29.33 

29.05 

29.00 

29.44 

29.57 

29.31 



Prevailing Winds. 



29.860 

29.800 

29.682 

29.655 

29.704 

29.670 

29.580 

29.695 

29.775 

29588 

29.500 

29.680 

29.778 

29.665 

29.622 

29.534 

29.358 

29.412 

29.577 

29.572 

29.565 

29.552 

29.642 

29.448 

29.228 

29.225 

29.500 

29.618 

29.417 



N. Westerly. 

N.N.W. 

N.W. 
Southerly.' 

S.E. 

C A.M. Westerly. 
I P.M. N.E. 

N.N.E. 

W.S.W. 

South. 

W.S.W. 

S.W. 

Southerly. 

Round the Compas: 

S.E. 

S.E. b. E. 

S.S.E. 

E.S.E. 

Westerly. 

N.N.E. 
N.N.W. 

N. E. by E. 

W.N.W. 

N.W. 

Easterly. 

N.N.E. 
Southerly. 

S.E.b.S. 
Southerly. 

Calm. ; 

N. b. W. < 

N.N.W. 

N.W. b. W. 

N.W. b. W. 

N.E. 



Prevailing Weather. 



Moderate breezes and cloudy. 
Light breezes and cloudy. 
Ditto ditto. 

Ditto ditto. 

Moderate and cloudy. 
Light breezes and cloudy, with snow. 
Light breezes and cloudy. 

Ditto ditto. 

Light breezes and fine. 
Strong breezes and squally. 
Light breezes and cloudy. 
Light airs and fine clear weather. 
Light breezes and cloudy. 

Ditto ditto. 

Moderate. Snow. 
Light breezes and foggy. 
Light breezes and hazy. 

Ditto ditto. 

Light breezes and hazy . Snow. 
Ditto ditto. ditto. 

f A.M. Moderate with snow. P.M. Light 
( breezes and hazy with snow. 
Light breezes and cloudy. 

Light airs to fresh gales, cloudy. 
Moderate and thick foggy weather. 
Moderate and foggy weather. Snow. 
Calm and hazy to strong gales and hazy, 
Fresh gales and squally. Snow. 
Moderate and cloudy. 
Fresh gales and squally to calm. Snow. 
Light airj and cloudy to fresh gales aod squally. 



306 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

1820. 3d, when the barometer had fallen as low as 29.14. In the gale which we 
■S^' experienced off Cape Farewell in 1818, the barometer was also much lower 
for two days after it had ceased to blow than while it lasted. During the 
time that we were in the Polar Sea, and especially while we were frozen up in 
Winter Harbour, we also remarked that a gale was accompanied, rather than 
preceded, by a fall of the mercury in the barometer; in moderate weather, 
it almost invariably rose with northerly and westerly winds, and fell with 
those from the south and east. 

Mon. 2, On the 2d of October, in scudding before the wind, under the main-top- 
sail, a heavy sea struck the Hecla on the larboard quarter, rendering it 
necessary to press her forward under more canvass, by which we lost sight 
of the Griper in the course of the morning. As soon as the weather mode- 
rated, we hove-to for her ; but, as she did not make her appearance, having, 
as we afterwards learned, been obliged to lie-to during the height of the gale, 
we continued our course out of the Straits, and did not again meet Avith the 
Griper till our return to England. After ten P.M. this night, the Aurora 
Borealis appeared at times in almost every part of the heavens, but most con- 
stantly in the southern quarter. It consisted of no distinct figure, either arch or 
pencils, but of a generally diffused white light, illuminating the atmosphere at 
times quite as much as the moon when six or seven days old. This pheno- 
menon occurred almost every night during our passage across the Atlantic, 
rendering them extremely light, even when the weather was cloudy, just in 
the same manner that the moon does although her disk is not visible. When 
the weather was clear, it most frequently resembled the light of that luminary 
when issuing from behind a dark cloud. 

Tues. 3. On the 3d we observed a more brilliant display than usual of this pheno- 
menon. It appeared at nine P.M. in various parts of the heavens, from E.N.E., 
round by south, to W. b. N., principally consisting at first of many detached 
luminous patches like clouds, irregularly scattered about, and shifting fre- 
quently, though not very rapidly, from place to place. From the W. b. N. 
over to the S.S.E., and passing a few degrees to the southward of the zenith, 
there soon appeared a broad band of light, having a tendency to arch ; and the 
light of which this consisted appeared to come from the west towards the east. 
In the E.N.E. quarter, there was a luminous appearance distinct from the rest, 
at about 15° or 20° of altitude, exactly resembling the light of the moon behind 
a dusky cloud, except that at times vivid coruscations shot upwards from it 
towards the zenith. At a quarter past ten the phenomenon suddenly became 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 307 

much more brilliant, its general position and character remaining, however, 1820. 
nearly as before. It still appeared chiefly to the southward of the zenith, ^^^i^^' 
the arch-like appearance continuing with increased splendour, and accom- 
panied for about a quarter of an hour by a beautifully waving light, of the 
rapidity and magnificence of which it is impossible to convey any adequate idea. 
The motion of this light reminded one of the contortions of a snake, except 
that its velocity was often so great that the eye could with difficulty follow 
it. The most intense part was of a pale greenish colour ; the rest nearly 
white. The arch, which before had been stationary, at one time shifted its 
position, by appearing, as it were, to turn up its legs so as to form a part of 
a circle seen in perspective in the south, parallel to the horizon. The lumi- 
nous patch, or cloud, in the E.N.E. increased also very much in brightness at 
the same time, emitting more vivid coruscations, but continuing, as before, quite 
distinct from the rest of the phenomenon. This Aurora, when brightest, gave 
nearly as much light as that of a full moon. There could not be the smallest 
doubt that it dimmed, and even sometimes altogether obscured, the stars over 
which it passed. We particularly remarked, that wherever there was a broad 
stream of its light stationary for some time in any part of the heavens, it pro- 
duced exactly the effect of a curtain ; for we could only distinguish stars of 
the first and second magnitudes through it, while those of inferior brilliancy 
were visible in great numbers by the side of it. In this, as in several pre- 
vious instances, the Aurora appeared very near us, though it was evidently 
higher than some clouds which were passing, as might readily be distin- 
guished by the latter intercepting a part of its light. The electrometer was tried 
during the most brilliant part of the phenomenon, but neither on this or on any 
other occasion, in crossing the Atlantic, did the gold leaf give any indication 
of electricity ; nor was the magnetic needle in the slightest degree affected. 
The arch-like appearance above described was not bisected by the magnetic 
meridian, but by the magnetic N.E. and S.W. At a quarter before eleven the 
light became less brilliant, and spread more to the northward, and then gra- 
dually disappeared before midnight. 

On the 11th, being in lat. 61° 11', longitude 31° 12', some water brought Wed. ]1. 
up from a depth of three hundred and twenty fathoms, in Dr. Marcet's bottle, 
was at the temperature of W\,, the surface water being at 47°|, and the 
air 48°. 

At seven P.M., on the 13th, the wind being squally from the N.N.W., Fiid. 13. 
the Aurora Borealis began to display itself in a bright luminous patch in 



308 VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY 

the north-east, resembling, as usual, the light of the moon behind a 
dark cloud. From this point faint and narrow coruscations shot upwards, 
passing a little to the north-westward of the zenith, and appearing to come 
down in the W.b.S. The blue sky between these streams of light, 
looked at first like so many dark streaks or clouds, until the eye had 
become accustomed to it, and the clearness of the stars in them explained 
the deception. In half an hour after, a bright arch, 34° high in the 
centre, and about 2° in breadth, extended from the luminous patch in 
the N.E. over to the W.S.W., so that the magnetic meridian would 
nearly bisect it. This part of the phenomenon remained about an hour, 
and then became faint, but the Aurora continued to give a considerable light, 
as usual, during the rest of the night. 

Sat. 14. The mercury in the barometer fell gradually, but very slowly from mid- 
night on the 11th, (when it was at 30.34 inches), till nine A.M., on the 14th, 
at which time it stood at 29.32 inches, and a hard gale of wind came on so 
suddenly as scarcely to give us time to save the masts and yards. It is re- 
markable that, immediately after this the mercury in the barometer rose to 
29.36 inches, and continued so very steadily till nine P.M., when it once more 
gradually descended till it had reached 28.83 on the morning of thelGth. The 
gale continued to blow almost Avithout intermission for four successive days, 

Mon. 16. On the afternoon of the 16th, the sea being very high and irregular, 
and the ship pitching with considerable" violence, the bowsprit was carried 
away close to the gammoning, and the foremast and main-top-mast im- 
mediately followed it over the side. The wreck was quickly cleared ; and, 
by the greatest activity and energy on the part of the officers and men, the 
main-yard and mainmast were saved, the latter having been endangered by 
the foremast falling across the stay, and the former by the wreck of the 
main- top-mast and top-sail-yard lying upon it. Notwithstanding the con- 
tinuance of the gale, and the uneasy motion of the ship for the next tAvo 
days, we succeeded in getting up our jury-masts, so as to make sail on the 
evening of the 18th. 

Thur. 26, Nothing material occurred till the afternoon of the 26th, when we struck 
soundings in seventy fathoms, on a bottom of coarse sand and broken shells, 
being in latitude 59° 55', longitude 4° 17' west. The weather being calm, 
some fishing-lines were put over, and several fine cod and torsk were caught, 
being the first we had met with since leaving Fair Island, at the commence- 

Fiid. 27.mentof the voyage. On the following day, we made Foul Island, bearing 



OF A NORTH-WEST PASSAGE. 309 

S. 54° E., distant eleven leagues. Previously to our parting company with the 1820. 
Griper, I had given Lieutenant Liddon an order, in case of separation, to v^^-v-w' 
repair to Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, and to wait a week there for my 
arrival. On the morning of the 28th, however, being between Fair Island Sat. 28. 
and the Orkneys at daylight, and the wind being fresh from the northward, 
I determined to proceed at once to Leith, where the necessary repairs of the 
Hecla's masts and rigging would be more quickly and effectually completed, 
previously to her venturing upon the English coast, and I should have an 
earlier opportunity of repairing to London, agreeably to my Instructions, 
to lay before my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty a full account 
of the voyage. 

On the 29th we made Buchaness, and on the following day, the wind Sun. 29. 
having come to the southward, so as to make our progress very slow, I landed 
at Peterhead, accompanied by Captain Sabine and Mr. Hooper ; having first, 
in compliance with their Lordships' directions, demanded from the officers, 
petty-officers, and all other persons on board the Hecla, the logs, journals, 
charts, drawings, and other documents which the voyage had furnished, and 
directed Lieutenant Beechey to proceed with all possible dispatch to Leith. 
Having left Mr. Hooper at Leith, to report the Hecla's arrival to Rear- 
Admiral Otway, the commander-in-chief at that port, and to provide fresh 
beef and vegetables for our people, Captain Sabine and myself proceeded 
without delay to London, where we arrived on the morning of the 3d of 
November. . e 



Such was the excellent state of health which we at this time continued to 
enjoy on board the Hecla, that, during the whole season of our late navi- 
gation from Winter Harbour to the coast of Scotland, being a period of 
thirteen weeks, not a single case had been entered on our sick-list, except 
from one or two accidents of a trifling nature ; and I had the happiness of 
seeing every officer and man on board both ships, (with only one exception 
out of ninety-four persons), return to their native country in as robust 
health as when they left it, after an absence of nearly eighteen months, 
during which time we had been living entirely on our own resources. 



310 VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. 

1820. The Griper arrived at Shetland on the 1st of November, and the Hecla at 
Leith on the 3rd. Both ships came into the River Thames about the 
middle of November, and were paid off at Deptford on the 21st of the 
following month. 



END OF THE NARRATIVE. 



APPENDIX I. 



AN ACCOUNT OF THE GOING OF THE CHRONOMETERS 
OF THE HECLA AND GRIPER. 



APPENDIX. 



N^.* I. 

AN ACCOUNT OF THE GOING OF THE CHRONOMETERS 
OF THE HECLA AND GRIPER. 



1 HE number of chronometers embarked in the Expedition amounted 
altogether to fourteen, whereof twelve were in boxes, and two for the pocket. 

The proportion supplied by government was three box chronometers to 
each ship, and a pocket watch additional for the Hecla. 

The makers and distribution of the government watches were as follows, 
viz. : 

To the HECLA. 

Parkinson and Frodsham's No. 228 

Arnold's - - - - 2109, a pocket chronometer. 

Arnold's - - - - 3G9 

Arnold's . . _ . 404, an eight-day chronometer. 

To the GRIPER. 

Arnold's - - - - 497, an eight-day chronometer. 
Arnold's - - - ■ 367 
Arnold's - - - - 377 

No. 228, of Messrs. Parkinson and Frodsham, had been sent on trial in 
the voyage of discovery to Baffin's Bay in 1818, at the risk of its makers, 
whose property it then was. A favourable report having been made on 
return, of its going, the Admiralty were pleased to order its purchase for the 
public service. In consequence of such encouragement, Messrs. Parkinson 



IV APPENDIX. 

and Frodsham determined on sending three chronometers on trial on the 
present occasion; accordingly their Nos. 253 and 254 were delivered to 
Captain Sabine in the beginning of April, 1819, and No. 259 a few days 
before the expedition sailed, being intrusted jointly to Captain Parry's care 
and his. No. 286, an eight-day chronometer of Messrs. Finer and Nowland, 
was also placed in Captain Sabine's charge, on a similar adventure. Arnold's 
No. 25, and 523, (the latter a pocket chronometer,) being both the property 
of Henry Browne, Esq. F.R.S., were with Captain Sabine in this as in the 
preceding voyage. These seven, the property of individuals, were all on 
board the Hecla, making her total complement nine box, and two pocket 
ciironometers. 

The box chronometers (with the exception of 286, for the first five weeks) 
were suspended from the beams of the deck in the after-cabin, in canvass 
cots lined with green baize. Steel springs had been furnished by 
Messrs. Parkinson and Frodsham, to be attached, instead of beckets, to the 
eyes of the cot-clews, with a view to take off the effect of jars which the 
ship might receive when navigating amongst ice ; but the springs giving way 
in one or two instances, (fortunately, however, without injurious consequences,) 
and the suspension by the eyes of the clews, or by very short beckets 
appearing in other respects preferable, the springs were removed. The 
motion of some of the larger chronometers was checked by puUeys attached to 
the sides of their cots. 

An apparatus for suspending 286 had accompanied it from the makers, 
devised by Mr. Jennings, patentee of the insulating compasses, and approved 
by Messrs. Finer and Nowland. It consisted of a copper cylinder upwards 
of a foot in length, and an inch and a half diameter, closed at the bottom 
and surmounted by a basin of sufficient capacity to receive the chronometer 
box. The basin was suspended in gimbals by lanyards from the deck, and a 
small quantity of mercury poured into the copper cylinder. To the bottom 
of the chronometer box was affixed a cylindrical wooden leg of rather less 
diameter than the copper tube, into which it entered, resting on the mercury, 
and bearing the weight of the chronometer. In the first few days after the 
ships had sailed, it was remarked that the motion, by this mode of 
suspension, was more lively than by the cots, and that in heavy rolls tjie 
chronometer box was brought in contact with the framework containing the 
gimbals ; this latter inconvenience might have been remedied by pouring 
more mercury into the cylinder, but at the expense of increasing the motion 



GOING OF THE CHRONOMETERS. V 

already too great, inasmuch as it would have raised the chronometer still 
higher above the level of suspension. Moreover, as 286 w^as going, so far as 
could be judged by its daily comparison with the others, with remarkable 
steadiness, no alteration was made. It continued to go equally well until 
the afternoon of the 8th of June, when, the ship having considerable motion, 
it stopped ; having been wound on the 6th, the index of the spring stood at 
nearly two days and a half. It was then determined to remove it into a 
cot similar to the others; in which being placed it was set going on the 9th, 
and was found to have again stopped at the noon comparison of the 10th. 
A third attempt to keep it going was alike unsuccessful ; it was, therefore, 
laid by for a time ; but, being again set in motion in the following month 
(July), it continued to go, though not with the same regularity as in the first 
month. 

No. 523 was worn in the pocket generally, and 2109 occasionally during 
the voyage. 

The chronometers were wound up and compared each day at noon, 
by Mr. Hooper and Capt. Sabine. 

The six box chronometers supplied by the Admiralty, and three of those 
which were individual property, were placed in Captain Sabine's charge 
in the beginning of April, 1819, being five weeks before the sailing of the 
expedition ; this period was sufficient to form a judgment of the dependance 
which might be placed on each chronometer, in maintaining a steady and 
uniform rate from day to day ; it was also sufficient for the assignment 
of such rates, as might serve the ordinary purposes of navigation, until 
opportunities should present themselves on the voyage, of ascertaining the 
rates which they should have actually taken up on board with the exactness 
required on an occasion of discovery ; and it may be remarked, that no 
length of previous trial can enable a conclusive inference to be drawn, 
of the rates which may be subsequently maintained, on account of the 
liability to alteration, which has been noticed in chronometers, of otherwise 
the best reputation, on being removed from the shore to shipboard. 

An account is given, in Table I., of the going of these nine chronometers, 
during the five weeks of trial before their embarkation. 

All the chronometers designed for the expedition having been collected 
by the first week in May, they were embarked from Somerset House on 
the seventh, the differences of each on mean Greenwich time, having been 
carefully noted at the preceding midnight. 



VI APPENDIX. 

The ships having arrived in Davis' Strait, using the temporary rates 
assumed from the five weeks of previous trial, a sufficient number of 
lunar observations were obtained during the lunations of June and 
August, to entitle the mean result to considerable confidence ; being 
in all 1,209 distances, whereof 640 were with the sun loest of the moon, 
and 569 with the sun east of the moon ; the difference of each chronometer 
was noted on the mean Greenwich time, thus determined, at noon of the 
22d of July, being the middle day of the observations ; and these differences 
being compared with those at midnight on the 6th of May, the gain or loss 
of each chronometer in the interval of seventy-six days and a half became 
known, and consequently their corrected daily rates on board; the detail 
of these comparisons will be found in a memorandum annexed to the 
abstract of lunar observations in June and August, 1819. 

The daily comparison of each chronometer with all the others, had also 
served in this interval, to guide the selection of those which had gone most 
steadily and uniformly, and had best preserved a mean rate, to be used 
in the determination of longitudes ; these were Nos. 228, 254, and 259 
of Messrs. Parkinson and Frodsham, 25, 369, and 404 of Arnold ; No. 228 
was also chosen as the watch by which the time of all observations should 
be noted, its rate being small and very uniform. 

No other opportunity of lunar observation and consequent comparison 
with Greenwich time occurred to any extent, until the ships were secured 
for the winter, about the end of September, in a small harbour in Melville 
Island, which had been passed early in the month, but to which they were 
obliged to return ; it had fortunately happened, that Captain Sabine had 
laaded on a low point within three miles of this harbour, when passing- 
it on the 6th of September, and had ascertained its longitude by the six 
chronometers above-mentioned ; this point was sufficiently near to be 
included in a very careful survey of the harbour and adjacent coast, made 
by Captain Parry in the spring ensuing, whereby the bearing and distance 
of the point from the ship's winter station was correctly determined, and 
its chronometrical longitude thereby brought in comparison with its true 
longitude, deduced by a mean of 6,862 lunar distances observed during 
the winter, and carried to the point of land by means of the survey. 

The detail of this comparison will also be found in the memorandum 
alluded to ; the error of the chronometrical longitude, using the corrected 
rates ascertained by means of the lunars of June and August, proved in 



GOING OF THE CHRONOMETERS. V» 

distance less than a geographical mile ; an amount so trivial, that it was 
not deemed necessary to pursue its further consideration ; and rates, which, 
at the expiration of four months, had produced so very close an accordance 
with the result of so great a number of lunar observations, were judged to 
require no further correction. 

The navigation of 1819 may be considered to have closed on the 6th 
of September, so far as the going of the chronometers is concerned, since 
the coast, to the westward of Winter Harbour, was laid down entirely by 
longitudes determined in the summer of 1820. 

In Table II. is exhibited an account of the going of the six chronometers 
of the Hecla which were selected for the determination of longitude, from 
the commencement of the voyage to the close of the navigation of 1819. The 
actual daily rate of each chronometer, averaged in weeks, is shewn successively 
on every one of the other five. 

In Table III. is shewn the daily rate (also on a weekly average, and for the 
same period) of the remaining chronometers of the Hecla's complement, on 
mean Greenwich time, as shewn each day at noon by No. 259, with its correc- 
tion applied for rate and original difference. No. 259 has been selected for this 
purpose, because it is believed to have preserved the most steady and uniform 
rate throughout the season ; the ground of this belief is, that its daily longi- 
tudes with the same unchanged rate, were not found to differ from the mean 
longitude of the six chronometers, so much as two minutes in a single instance 
during the four months, and but very rarely so much as one minute ; this fact 
may be examined by a reference to the Table, closing the abstract of latitudes 
and longitudes determined in 1819, in which the daily longitude by each 
chronometer separately is shewn, as well as by their mean. It is considered 
to afford a presumption of very remarkable steadiness. 

Table IV. contains a statement of the going of the chronometers on mean 
time at Winter Harbour, from the end of September 1819, to the end of 
April 1820. 

During the severest months of the winter, the chronometers were 
suspended within five feet of the cabin stove, where they received as much 
advantage as could conveniently be given them from the moderate fire, 
which the necessary attention to economy of fuel permitted to be kept up. 



VIU - ;; n I APPENDIX. 

The extremes of temperature of each day were noted by a self-registering 
thermometer suspended amongst them ; the Table shews the highest and 
lowest degrees, as well as the mean temperature of each week; the latter 
being the mean of the daily extremes divided by fourteen. 

The occasional stoppage of some of the chronometers, and the irregularity 
of others shew, that notwithstanding the precautions which were adopted 
the cold which was experienced was greater than they had been prepared to 
meet. 

No. 25 was the soonest affected, stopping, (on two occasions) at about 
15° Fahrenheit; the compensation of this watch was also faulty, as its rate 
varied exceedingly with changes in the temperature. The stoppages were 
conjectured to be owing to the congealment of the oil. No. 369 stopped at 10°, 
and 404 at 6° of the thermometer scale. It is also presumed, that No. 369 
was nearly stopped in the third week of November, when at the temperature 
of ] 5°, it lost in one day 47 seconds, and in the next above a minute, effects 
too considerable in a usually very steady going watch, to have been caused 
by defect in compensation. 

The chronometers of Messrs. Parkinson and Frodsham appear to have 
been far better prepared for the peculiar service on which they were employed, 
than any other of the box chronometers ; no instance occurred of any one of 
them being stopped by the cold. The rate of 228 experienced, indeed, con- 
siderable alteration in the three weeks of severest exposure in February 
and March ; 254 and 259 were affected, but in a much less degree, whilst the 
compensation of 253 could scarcely have been better. 

Mr. Arnold's pocket chronometers, 2109 and 523, underwent severer trials 
in the course of the winter, from natural cold, than it is probable chronome- 
ters were ever subjected to before, having been used in lunar observations fre- 
quently for three and four hours together, at temperatures from —20° to —40°. 
and even so low as —45°. There was certainly a limit of exposure (in degree 
and continuance) beyond which neither of these watches would go, as 2109 
stopped on two occasions, and 523 once, as noted in the Table ; (it is likely 
also that 523 was about to stop on the 29th of November, when on being 
taken into the cabin, it was found to have lost 43 seconds on a chronometer 
with which it had been compared but a few minutes before. ) But this limit 
was at a very low temperature continued for a considerable time, and when 
the cold was not sufficient to cause their stoppage, its effect on their usual 
rate was very small; this was especially the case with 2109, in which 



GOING OP THE CHRONOMETERS. IX 

respect, as well as in the steadiness of its daily rate, this watch proved 
a very great acquisition. 

The stoppage of the chronometers during observations was prevented after 
the experience on the above-mentioned occasions, by placing them on tin 
cases, filled with moderately-heated sand, which was renewed as occasion 
required. 

No. 404 stopping from some unknown cause, on the 22d of March, it was 
laid aside during the remainder of the voyage. 

Early in May, the chronometers of the Griper were sent on board the 
Hecla, for the purpose of having their rates examined previously to the 
sailing of the expedition from Winter Harbour. 

Table V. contains an account of the going of seven chronometers of the 
Hecla, and three of the Griper on mean time, from the eighth of May to the 
end of July, being the twelve weeks preceding the commencement of the 
navigation in 1820. 

No. 369 is omitted in this Table ; when taken down to be wound on the 
] 3th of June, it was found to have stopped at four turns of the chain, six 
and a half being equal to twenty-four hours ; there appearing no particular 
cause for the stoppage, it was. again set going, but stopped after having gone 
about two hours ; the same took place on a third trial, when it was laid aside. 
It was probably injured by the winter's cold, as it never took up a steady 
rate after its stoppage in February. The attempt to keep it going was 
renewed in September, but proved as unsuccessful as in June, after which 
it was reserved for the examination of the maker. 

On due examination of the going of the chronometers, at Melville Island, 
exhibited in Table V., it was apparent, that of those which belonged to the 
Hecla, the four of Messrs. Parkinson and Frodsham, were principally to 
be relied on in the determination of longitudes in the ensuing season. 

The opportunities of lunar observation during the navigation of 1820 were 
few, and under circumstances by no means favourable ; in consequence, 
an occasion did not present itself of comparison with Greenwich time, 
between the departure of the ships from Winter Harbour, and the arrival 
of the Hecla at Leith, on the 12th of November; on which day, the difference 
of each chronometer on Greenwich time, was ascertained by direct com- 
parison with the Observatory clock at Calton Hill. 



X APPENDIX. 

The following statement will shew the degree of correctness with which 
these four chronometers had maintained their respective rates, deduced 
from their going in the last three months at Winter Harbour ; the same 
which are specified in Table V., under the title of " Average daily 
rates." 

The difference of each chronometer, on mean observatory time at Winter 
Harbour, is given in Table V. ; the observatory time was 5". 3 slow of 
mean time at the Hecla's winter station, as deduced from the bearing and 
measured distance ; the difiference of the meridians of Greenwich and of 
the Hecla's station, was 7". 23". 14'. the longitude of the latter being 
110° 48' 30" west; these data give the differences of the chronometers 
on Greenwich time on the 31st of July, as follows : — 

228 slow 3 fs 06.3 

253 — 1 29 49,2 

254 — 17 07.4 
259 — 47 25. 

By applying to each chronometer the allowance for its rate in 104 days, 
agreeably to the average daily rates in Table V., and adding 11"". 22.5'. to 
No. 253, in compensation of an accidental stoppage to that amount on the 
3d of September*, the differences of the chronometers on Greenwich time 
on the 12th of November, conformably to the rates, are as follows: — 



228 


slow 


3 


05 


00.3 


253 


— 


2 


29 


06.18 


254 


— 





20 


33.32 


259 


" 





45 


13. 




6 


39 


50.8 



* Mr. Hooper and Captain Sabine having accompanied Captain Parry on shore on the west coast 
of Davis' Strait, on this day, their return to the Hecla was delayed by unforeseen circumstances 
until between five and six hours beyond the usual time of winding the chronometers. Fortunately 
253 was the only one which had gone down ; being wound up and set in motion, it was com- 
pared with the other chronometers, and due allowance having been made for its rate since the 
comparison at noon of the preceding day, it was found to have been stopped for 11m. 25.5s., 
which loss is accordingly brought into the account. 



GOING OF THE CHRONOMETERS. XI 

Their actual differences, ascertained by comparison at the observatory 
at Calton Hill, were. 



228 


slow 


3 


04 


05.03 


253 


— 


2 


29 


40.48 


254 


— 





21 


22.68 


259 







44 


35.35 




6~ 


39 


43.54 



The difference being divided by 4, (the number of the chronometers) gives 
1'.815 fast, as the error of the Greenwich time shewn by the chrono- 
meters at the end of 104 days, on being allowed the average daily rates 
at which they had gone for the three months preceding the period. 

The longitude of the western parts of Melville Island, and of a con- 
siderable portion of the western coast of Baffin's Bay, and Davis' Strait, 
which were surveyed in the season of 1820, have been accordingly determined 
by the mean of these four chronometers, using the above-mentioned rates. 

Table VI. exhibits the daily rate of these chronometers, and of No. 2109, 
each successively on the other four, averaged in weeks, from the com- 
mencement to the close of the navigation of 1820. 

The ships having arrived at Deptford, the chronometers were delivered 
on the 1st of December, to steady persons sent by their makers to receive 
them. 

Table VII. contains a statement of their daily going on time since their 
return to London ; the materials of this statement have been furnished by 
the makers, who had not received any intimation of the previous rates. 

Admirably as these chronometers have fulfilled the purposes for which 
they were employed, it is an additional satisfaction to find, that, notwith- 
standing the change of circumstances attendant on their disembarkation, 
and replacement in their makers' care, they are still maintaining almost 
without exception, their Melville Island rates. 

Nos. 369 and 404, which had stopped in the winter at Melville Island, 
without any apparent cause, and had been reserved for Mr. Arnold's ex- 



Xll 



APPENDIX. 



amination, have been taken to pieces since their return. Mr. Arnold states 
that he found the main springs of both the watches broken ; accidents which 
may have arisen from a flaw in the steel, or simply from the severity of the 
cold, as experience has shewn, that more main-springs break in frosty 
weather, than at other seasons. 

No, 286 has also been examined by Messrs. Finer and Nowland : the 
cause of its stoppage and subsequent irregularity, is discovered to have 
been the rusting of a spring connected with the teeth of the index wheel, 
which shews the number of days passed since the chronometer was wound. 
The introduction of this wheel, which, with ordinary attention, is not required, 
is particularly to be regretted on the present occasion, as from the very 
steady going of this watch before the accident took place, there appeared 
every prospect of its doing great credit to its makers. 













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tab; 



AN ACCOUNT of the going of the Six CHRONOMETERS selected for the determination of Longitudes, fr 

Week being shewn of each Chronotni 



Week 
ending 



May 13 
20 
27 

June 3 
10 

■ i -17 

j 

'■ , " 24 
July 1 



29 

Aug. 5 
12 
19 
26 

Sept. 2 



228 with 


254 with 




259 with 


254 


259 


369 


404 


25 


228 


259 


369 


404 


25 


228 


254 


369 


404 


s 
GO.61 


s 
G2.77 


s 
GO.923 


s 
L4.96 


s 
L7.46 


s 
LO.61 


s 
G2.16 


s 
Go. 313 


s 
L5.57 


s 
L8.07 


s 
L2.77 


s 
L2.16 


L 1.747 


L7.73 


Ll. 


3.3 


0.86 


5.93 


9. 


Gl. 


4.3 


1.86 


4.93 


8. 


3.3 


4.3 


2.44 


9.23 


0.93 


2.93 


0.57 


4.86 


9.536 


0.93 


3.86 


1.4 


3.93 


8.606 


2.93 


3.86 


2.36 


7.79 


1. 


2.36 


2.036 


4.464 


10.43 


1. 


3.36 


3.036 


3.464 


9.43 


2.36 


3.36 


0.324 


6.826 


0.034 


2.S 


3.107 


3.14 


10.61 


0.034 


2.834 


3.141 


3.114 


10.576 


2.8 


2. 834 


GO.307 


5.94 


G3.11 


3.14 


2.32 


2.57 


12.68 


L3.11 


0.03 


LO.79 


5.68 


15.79 


3.14 


0.03 


LO.82 


5.71 


4.14 


2.7 


LO.14 


1.535 


11.32 


4.14 


Ll.44 


4.58 


5.675 


15.46 


2.7 


Gl.44 


2.84 


4.235 


3.7 


3.5 


0.14 


1.07 


11.43 


3.7 


0.2 


3.84 


4.77 


15.13 


3.5 


0.2 


3.64 


4.57 


3.465 


3. 68 


GO.14 


0.714 


10.8 


3.465 


Go. 215 


3.325 


4.179 


14.265 


3.68 


LO.215 


3.54 


4.394 


3.607 


4.25 


0.714 


GO.036 


9.964 


3.607 


0.643 


2.893 


3.571 


13.571 


4.25 


0.643 


3.536 


4.214 


3.57 


4.214 


0.357 


0.036 


9.57 


3.57 


0.844 


3.213 


3.534 


13.14 


4.214 


0.844 


3.857 


4.178 


3.07 


4.5 


0.286 


0.107 


8.82 


3.07 


1.43 


2.784 


2.963 


11.89 


4.5 


1.43 


3.214 


4.393 


3.2S6 


4.393 


L0..357 


0.18 


5.18 


3.2S6 


1.107 


3.643 


3.106 


S.466 


4.393 


1.107 


4.75 


4.213 


3.536 


4.30 


0.57 


0. 


7.536 


2.536 


1.824 


3.106 


2.536 


10.072 


4.36 


1.824 


4.93 


4.36 


3.036 


4.464 


0.75 


0.43 


7.82 


3.036 


1.428 


3.786 


2.606 


10.856 


4.464 


1.428 


5.214 


4.034 


3.716 


4.93 


0.536 


1.893 


5.5 


3.716 


1.914 


4.252 


1.823 


9.216 


4.93 


1.214 


5.466 


3.037 


3.536 


5.93 


O.IS 


2. 


4.036 


3.536 


2.394 


3.716 


1.536 


7.572 


5.93 


2.394 


6.11 


3.93 


5.07 


6.643 


Gl.036 


2.5 


3.18 


5.07 


1.573 


4.034 


2,57 


8.25 


6.643 


1.573 


5.607 


4.143 



The " Daily Rates" which are here given, are the actual daily difterences of each Chronometer on the others, as sh( 
reference is made. A Table of this nature much facilitates the regulation of Chronometers, by bringing into a small coi 
It will also generally shew the week in which any Chronometer may change its established rate ; and as this sometimes hi 
oil the mean Longitude, which requires to be met by a special correction, this Table serves to fix the periods, and regul ' t 



encement of the Voyage to tl 


e close 


of the season of Navigation of 1819 ; the average Daily Rate in each 


;ly on 


the other five. 
















369 with 


404 with 


25 with 


Temperature. 


254 


259 


404 


25- 


228 


254 


259 


369 


25 


228 




254 


259 


369 


404 


1 Min;- 


Maxi. 




jMeau 



s 


s 


s 


s 


s 


s 


s 


s 


s 


s 


s 


s 


s 


s 


0.313 


G 1.747 


L 5.886 


L8.383 


G4.96 


G5.57 


G7.7'3 


G5.SS6 


L2.5 


G7.46 


G8.07 


GlO.23 


G8.3S3 


G2.5 


1 






1.86 


2.44 


6.79 


9.86 


5.93 


4.93 


9.23 


6.79 


3.57 


9. 


8. 


12.3 


9.86 


3.07 


' 








1.4 


2.36 


5.43 


10.106 


4.86 


3.93 


7.79 


5.43 


4.676 


9.536 


8.606 


12.466 


10.106 


4.676 










3.036 


0.324 


6.5 


12.466 


4.464 


3.464 


6.826 


6.5 


5.966 


10.43 


9.43 


12.79 


12.466 


5.966 










3.141 


LO.307 


6.247 


13.717 


3.14 


3.114 


5.94 


6.247 


7.47 


10.61 


10.576 


13.41 


13.717 


7.47 


45 


55 


49 


.5 


0.79 


GO.82 


4.89 


15. 


2.57 


5.68 


5.71 


4.89 


10.11 


12.68 


15.79 


15.82 


15. 


10.11 


45 


65 


54 


.5 


4.58 


2.84 


1.395 


11.18 


1.535 


5.675 


4.235 


1..395 


9.785 


11.32 


15.46 


14.02 


11.18 


9.785 


49 


68 


37 


.5 


3.84 


3.64 


0.93 


11.29 


1.07 


4.77 


4.57 


0.93 


10.36 


11.43 


15.13 


14.93 


11.29 


10.36 


46 


68 


58 


.7 


3.325 


3.54 


0.854 


16.94 


0.714 


4.179 


4.394 


0.854 


10.086 


10.8 


14.265 


14.48 


10.94 


10.086 


45 


64 


60 




3.893 


3.536 


Go.e7s 


10.678 


LO.036 


3.571 


4.214 


0.678 


10. 


9.964 


13.571 


14.214 


10.678 


10. 


49 


66 


56 


.5 


3.213 


3.857 


0.321 


9.927 


0.036 


3.534 


4.178 


0.321 


9.606 


9.57 


13.14 


13.784 


9.927 


9.606 


45 


66 


57 




3.784 


3.214 


0.179 


9.106 


0.107 


2.963 


4.393 


0.179 


8.927 


8.82 


11.89 


13.32 


9.106 


8.927 


52 


66 


58 


.7 


3.643 


4.75 


0.587 


4:823 


0.18 


3.106 


4.213 


LO.5.37 


5.36 


5.18 


8.466 


9.573 


4.823 


5.36 


50 


66 


57.5 


3.106 


4.93 


0.57 


6.966 


0. 


2.536 


4.36 


0.57 


7.536 


7.536 


10.072 


1.896 


6.966 


7.536 


46 


68 


58 


3.786 


5.214 


1.18 


7.07 


0.43 


2.606 


4.034 


1.18 


8.25 , 


7.82 


10.856 


12.284 


7.07 


8.25 


50 


65 


58 


1.252 


5.466 


2.429 


4.964 


1.893 


1.823 


3.037 


2.429 


7..393 


5.5 


9.216 


10.43 


4.964 


7.393 


40 


70 


57 


3.716 


6.11 


2.18 


3.856 


2. 


1.536 


3.93 


2.18 


6.036 


4.036 


7.572 


9.966 


3.856 


6.036 


50 


69 


58.5 


4.034 


5.607 


1.464 


4.216 


2.5 


2.57 


4.143 


1.4G4 


5.68 


3.18 


8.25 


9.823 


4.216 


6.68 


48 


70 


58 



arison each day at noon ; being wholly unconnected with the respective corrections to Mean Greenwich time, to which no 
e view, the means whereby their absolute as well as relative uniformity and steadiness of going may be estimated, 
liree (where several are concerned), in the intervals between comparisons with known time, and as each change has an influence 
such corrections accordingly. 



TABLE III. 





AN ACCOUNT of the 


going of 


the under-mentioned CHRONOMETERS, on 


Mean Greenwich 




Time, (as 


shown by No. 259, with its correction for Rate and original difference 


ipplied,) from the 




commencement of the 


Voyage to the close of the Navig 


ition in 1819. 






1819 


ARNOLD'S 


PARKINSON AND 
FRODSHAM'S 


Temperature 






1 










523 


2109 


253 








Fast 


Daily Rate. 


Slow 


Daily Rate 


Slow 


Daily Rate 


Max. 


Mill. 


Mean 




TO S 




m s 




TO S 












May 6 


1 14.15 


S 

G 1.82 


1 


S 
G 0.26 


1 37.3 


S 

L 4.9 










13 


1 25.S7 


0.39 


58.13 


L 3.25 


2 12.1 


4.75 










20 


1 28.64 


2.25 


1 20.86 


4.3 


2 45.36 


6.5 










27 


1 44.4 


8.1 


1 51.1 


4.9 


3 30.84 


8.3 










June 3 


2 41.2 




2 25.8 




4 21.8 




o 


o 


o 








6 




3.6 




7 


55 


45 


49.5 




10 


3 23.2 




2 51.3 




5 17.8 
















4.9 




2.8 




8.7 


65 


45 


54.5 




17 


3 57.2 




3 10.8 




8 18.8 
















2.8 




3.9 


• 


26.5 


68 


49 


57.5 




24 


4 16.75 




3 38 




11 24 














Slow 






5.24 




27 


68 


46 


58.7 




July 1 


17 26.7 




4 14.7 




14 33.2 
















4.24 




3.7 




29.6 


64 


45 


60 




8 


16 57 




4 40.9 




17 53.9 
















1.6 




2.4 




29 


66 


49 


56.5 




15 


16 45.7 




4 57.7 




21 16.7 
















L 2.1 




2.7 




29.4 


66 


45 


57 




22 


17 00.4 




5 16. S 




24 42.9 
















0.1 




1.6 




27.6 


66 


52 


58.7 


i(nr aitf.1 


29 


17 01.2 




5 28.1 




27 56.15 










E? r3; 


Aug. 5 


17 15.9 


2.1 


5 48.15 


2.86 


31 32.65 


30.9 


66 


50 


57.5 








2.5 




2.7 




28 


68 


46 


58 




12 


17 33.85 




6 07.35 




34 48.85 
















2.5 




1.4 




28.6 


65 


50 


58 




19 


17 51.3 




6 17.3 




38 09 
















4.8 




2.6 




29.1 


70 


40 


57 




26 


18 25.1 




6 33.6 




41 33.1 
















2.S 




1.46 




28.6 


69 


50 


58.5 




Sept. 2 


18 44.8 




6 43.8 




44 53 
















6 




2.5 




29.5 


70 


48 


58 




9 


19 28.8 




7 01.5 




48 19.5 











No. 523 was worn in the pocket during the whole of the above period ; it was stopped on the 
30th of June, by being drawn out too quickly in noting the time of an observation. 



























xvii 






AN ACCOUNT 


of the go 


ing of 


30th, 1819, 


to April 27th, 1820. 


DATE. 


No. S 


>59 


No. 228 


No. 233 


2109 


Te 


mperature. 






Faat 


■jy;; 


Fast 


Daily 
Kate- 


Fast 


S 




Daily 
Hate 


Max- 


Mill. 


Mean 


1319 


m s 


s 


m s 


S 


m s 


s 


"' 














Sept. 30 


12 43.66 




21 42.16 




24 41.16 






f 


o 


o 


O 




Oct. 7 


12 16.43 


L3.89 


22 06.93 


G3.5 


20 56.93 


L32 




L2.1 


60 


38 


48 




14 


11 49.2 


3.89 


22 32.2 


3.61 


17 06.45 


32.9 






58 


37 


47 


r2109stopt on the 13th, being exp 'Sed between 
< 2 and 3 hours to a temperature of — 4° during 
1 Lunar Observations. 


21 


U 28.1 


3.01 


^23 01.1 


4.13 


13 25.1 


31.6 




3.7 


59 


34 


45 




28 


11 07 


3.01 


23 30 


4.13 


9 52.5 


30.4 




4 


58 


33 


44 


523 set near to mean time. 

I 25 exposed to cold drafts: shifted on the 2nd 
[_ November Hcros* the cabin. 


Nov. 4 


10 ,39.3 


3.95 


23 51.5 


3.08 


6 18 


30.6 




4.36 


59 


32 


44 


11 


10 11.6 


3.95 


24 10.8 


2.76 


2 29.85 


32.6 




2.7 


51 


27 


37 


18 


09 44 


3.95 


24 31.5 


2.96 


59 09.5 


28.6 




1-9 


50 


28 


35 


(25 stopt at 150 Fahrenheit. 


25 


09 16.3 


3.95 
3.95 


25 06.3 


4.97 
3.47 


55 22 


32.4 
30 




1.4 


46 


15 


33 


.;369 lost 47 minutes in one day, and above an 

{ hour the neit. 

(2109 and 523 used in lunar observations, tempe- 


Dec. 2 


08 48.6 




25 30.6 




51 52.1 






52 


«0 


37 


i peranire— 350. 2109 stopt, .ind 523 lost 43' in 
( two hours and a half. 


9 


68 24 


3.5 


25 55.75 


3.6 


48 23.7 


29.7 




9.3 


58 


17 


38 




16 


07 59.5 


3.5 




3.4 




28.3 




8.24 


C3 


31 


49 


(Chronometers suspended close to the stove pipe, 
i the registering Tliermomcter shifted with them. 




26 20 




45 05 












23 


07 35 


3.5 


26 47.25 


3.9 


41 45 


28.6 




8 


65 


30 


48 


























r259 omitted to be wound, when compared on 


30 


38 36.7 




27 05.95 


2.67 


38 06 


31.3 






60 


28 


42 


1 the 26th, 

) 2109 lost 3' 46" in one day ; cause unknown. 


1820 




3.6 




4.8 




29.1 












^523 stopt in observing Inuar's, temp. — 370. 


Jau. 6 


38 11.5 




27 39.5 




34 42 






7-3 


60 


24 


4a 




13 


37 46.3 


3.6 


2B 13 


4.8 


31 08.8 


30.5 




7.67 


55 


25 


38 




20 


37 21.1 


3.6 


44 44 




27 38 


30.1 




e.7 


65 


•ih 


45 


|228 omitted to be wound when compared on 
I the 16th. 


27 


36 55.2 


3.7 


45 12.25 


5.46 


24 07 


30.14 




7.6 


62 


28 


45 




Feb. 3 


36 29.3 


3.7 


45 37.6 


3.5 


20 34 


30.4 




9.3 


61 


23 


41 




10 


36 03.4 


3.7 


46 04.9 


3.9 


17 06.4 


29.66 




8.3 


57 


24 


41 




17 


35 37.5 


3.7 
G0.5 


46 44.5 


5.66 
17 


13 35.5 


30.13 
29.4 




10.2 


61 


10 


40 


1 Dead lights removed from the cabin windows ; 
\ the thermometer fell to lOO, when 25 and 369 


24 


35 41 




48 43.75 


10 09. 2 




13.36 


36 


4 


19.5 


\ stopt, and subsequently to 6° when 404 stopt. 


■ 




0.5 




20.1 




30 














March 2 


35 44.5 




51 04.5 




6 39.5 






13.4 


31 


2 


15.3 




9 


35 48 


0.5 
L1.4 


52 43 


14.8 
5.7 


3 14 


29.3 
29.7 




7-3 


54 


5 


27 


Dead lights replaced. 


16 


35 38.2 




53 28 




59 46.4 




7.2 


58 


24 


39 




23 


35 28.4 


1.4 

1.4 


54 17.4 


7.06 
7.8 


56 07 


31.4 
29.7 




9 


50 


21 


34 


404 stopt, cause unknown at th&Iime. 


30 


35 18.6 




bb 12 1 




52 39.1 


I 


7-3 


50 


20 


33 




April 6 


35 08.8 


1.4 


56 02.8 


7.26 


49 03.8 


30.7 




9.6 


47 


23 


34 




13 


34 53.4 


1.5 


56 57.4 


7.8 


45 11.4 


33.2 






48 


17 


31 


.2109 stopt in being taken down to compare, 
1 but was immediately set again in motion. 


20 


34 48 


1.5 


58 10 


10.4 


41 25 


32.3 


J 


12.3 


45 


13 


28 




27 


34 37.5 


1.5 


59 03.5 


7.64 


37 48.5 


30.9 




12 


48 


23 


35 




























C 



TABLE III. 



AN ACCOUNT of the 


going of the under-mentioned CHRONOMETERS, on 


Mean Greenwich 


Time, (as 


shown by No. 259, with its correction for Rate and original difference applied,) from the 1 


commencement of the 


Voyage to the close of the Navigation in 1819. 




1819 


ARNOLD'S 


PARKINSON AND 
FRODSHAM'S 


Temperature 




1 








523 


2109 


253 






Fast 


Daily Rate. 


Slow 


Daily Rate 


Slow 


Daily Rate 


Max. 


Mill. 


Mean 


m s 


1 


m s 




m s 










May 6 


1 14.15 


S 
G 1.82 


1 


G 0.26 


1 37.3 


S 

L 4.9 








13 


1 25.87 


0.39 i 


58.13 


L 3.25 


2 12.1 


4.75 








20 


1 28.64 


2.25 


1 20.86 


4.3 


2 45.36 


6.5 








27 


1 44.4 


8.1 


1 51.1 


4.9 


3 30.84 


8.3 








June 3 


2 41.2 




2 25.8 




4 21.8 




o 


o 


^ 






6 




3.6 




7 


55 


45 


49.5 


10 


3 23.2 




2 51.3 




5 17.8 














4.9 




2.8 




8.7 


65 


45 


54.5 


17 


3 57.2 




3 10.8 




8 18.8 














2.8 




3.9 




26.5 


68 


49 


57. S 


24 


4 16.75 




3 38 




11 24 












Slow 






5.24 




27 


68 


46 


58.7 


July 1 


17 26.7 




4 14.7 




14 33.2 














4.24 




3.7 




29.6 


64 


45 


60 


8 


16 57 




4 40.9 




17 53.9 














1.6 




2.4 




29 


66 


49 


56.5 


15 


16 45.7 




4 57.7 




21 16.7 














L 2.1 




2.7 




29.4 


66 


45 


57 


22 


17 00.4 




5 16.8 




24 42.9 














0.1 




1.6 




27.6 


66 


52 


58.7 


29 


17 01.2 




5 28.1 




27 56.15 














2.1 




2.86 




30.9 


66 


50 


57.5 


Aug. 5 


17 15.9 




5 48.15 




31 32.65 














2.5 




2.7 




28 


68 


46 


58 


12 


17 33.85 




6 07.35 




34 48.85 














2.5 




1.4 




28.6 


65 


50 


58 


19 


17 51.3 




6 17.3 




38 09 














4.8 




2.6 




29.1 


70 


40 


57 


26 


18 25.1 




6 33.6 




41 33.1 














2.8 




1.46 




28.6 


69 


50 


58.5 


Sept. 2 


18 44.8 




6 43.8 




44 53 














6 




2.5 




29.5 


70 


48 


58 


9 


19 28.8 




7 01.5 




48 19,5 











No. 523 was worn in the pocket during the whole of the above period ; it was stopped on the 
30th of June, by being drawn out too quickly in noting the time of an observation, 



DOING OF THE CHRONOMETERS 

TABLE IV. 















the HecL 










n Tim 






rboitr, fro 














7th, IS20. 






AN ACCOUNT 


of the going of 


a's chronometers on Me 


e at Winter Ha 


m September 30th, 1819, to April 2 


DATE. 


No. 259 


No. 228 


No. 253 


No. 251. 


No. 369 


No. 404. 


No. 25 


No. 523 


No. 2109 


Temperature. 






1319 


p... 


D-ilj 


... ■ 




p., 


S 


,.„ 


K! 


r., 


Itli! 


1 ., 


K 


,.., 


?u,'.' 


p„, 


S 


r... 


ffi 


.,..- 


.„.. 


.,„0 












































Sept. 30 
Oct. 7 


12 43.i;g 

12 IG.43 
11 49.2 


L3.89 
3.89 
3.01 


21 42.16 

22 OS .93 
22 32.2 


G3.5 
3.S1 
4.13 


24 41.16 
20 56.93 
17 06.45 


L32 
32.9 
31.6 


18 33.66 
18 13.9 
17 57 


L2.3 
2.6 
2.1 


23 46.6 
2,1 10.6 
22 55.5 


L 5.14 
2.14 
06 


30 03.5 
29 57.9 


L1.21 
0.04 


37 14 
32 55 
:9 09 


L37 
32.3 
39 


43 27 
41 66 
40 19 


L 13 
13.9 
11. 1 


15 12 
14 57 
04 00.5 


L2.I 

3.7 


60 
38 


38 
37 


43 


(JlOO.lopioi. Ite lllh, belne c< 
i Lmil'c Ot.°,°"mloV.'"''"""" 


{—i° darlDg 


21 


11 28.1 




-23 01.1 




13 25.1 




17 42.5 




22 51.6 




29 57.6 




24 36 




39 01 




03 34 


















3.01 




4.13 




30.4 




1.8 




:; 43 




G0.34 


45.3 












31 








99 1 


11 07 




23 30 




9 32J 




17 30 




22 5-1.5 




30 




19 19 




4 .14 




03 06 


















3.95 




3.08 




30.6 




1.14 




L0.7 




LI 




74 




12 




4.36 




1? 




) 2S cxp„.»a lo =ol,l ,l,.ri.: .LlOed o., .h. Sn.l | 


Nov. 4 


10 .15.3 


3.;)5 


23 51.5 


2.7S 


6 18 


32.6 


17 22 


3.6 


22 49.5 




29 53 


0.8 


10 43 




3 10 


14.3 


02 32 


2.7 












11 


10 ll.G 


3.95 


24 10.8 


2.96 


2 29.85 


28,6 


IS 57.3 


3 


22 50 


1. 1 .43 


, 29 47.5 


0.61 


OS 17.3 


27 


1 30 


11.6 


02 13.5 


1-9 




•■3 


35 






S.'i 


03 44 
09 16.3 . 


3.95 
3.95 


24 31.5 

25 06.3 


4.97 
3.17 


59 09.5 
55 22 


32.4 
30 


16 36.5 
16 01.6 


5 
3.1 


35 44 


L4.1 


29 43.2 
29 17 


3.7 


03 07.5 
Slopt 




09 

69 26 




02 00 
01 50 


1.4 


46 


15 


33 


tiS sio|,i HI ISO F.<lircnhcll. 




Dec. 2 
9 


OB 4«.G 
98 24 


3.5 


25 30.6 
25 55.75 


3.6 


51 52.1 
48 23.7 


29.7 


15 40 
15 23.75 


2.3 


35 14.9 
34 23.75 


7.3 


29 
29 01 


G0.14 


15 00 


17- 


56 19 
54 ,57.5 


ll.G 


46 54 


9.3 


53 


17 


38 


''""""" """""■ 












3.4 




23.3 




0.86 




2.8 




LO.9 




03.3 




12 8 




8.24 








(ChronoinelcM wnpended cloae lo 


.1,0 .love pipo, 




o; 59.5 


3.5 


26 20 


3.9 


45 05 


28.6 


16 18 


P8 


34 04.25 


2.1 


28 64.5 


1.6 


12 38 


2,4 


53 27 


16 


■14 51.3 


8 






48 














2.67 


41 45 


31.3 


15 12.5 


2.7 


33 49.75 


T-2 


33 43.2 

- 




12 20.75 


21 


51 34.5 




41 55.5 










fiSO omilted lo be wonml, whe 


oompmJ «. 


30 


38 36.7 




27 05.95 




38 06 




14 55.6 




32 59.4 




28 19.4 






















jaiOUIoita ia inoncday,_cnu« 




Jau. G 


38 11.5 


3.6 


27 39.5 


4.8 

4.8 


34 42 


29.1 
30.5 


14 53.75 


0.3 

1.46 


32 30.2 


4.2 
6.9 


28 10.5 


3 


e 35.5 


11 

63.6 


46 34 


17.3 


38 2L? 


7.67 




24 


42 
38 










3.6 






31 08.8 


30.1 


14 43.5 


0.7 


31 42 


6.1 


27 49.3 




1 10.5 




44 05.3 




37 28 










,.i2« o.nlUeU io be wound when 


compirrf nn 






3.7 


44 44 


5.46 


27 38 


30.14 


14 38.6 


o:84 


30 59 




27 xt.e 




56 50.6 




41 30.6 




36 41 










""^ '*"''' 








3.7 




3.5 


24 07 


30.4 


14 32.7 




30 33 


5 1 


27 20 




,54 17 




37 38.2 




35 48 


















3.7 




3.9 


20 34 


29.66 


14 23.8 


1.24 


29 57 


6.6 


27 03 




50 42.8 




34 05.8 




34 43.1 
























17 06.4 




14 15.1 




29 11 




26 48.4 




48 35.4 




30 55.4 




33 44.» 














17 


35 37.5 


G0.5 


46 44.5 




13 35.5 


30.13 


' 14 07.5 


1.1 


Stopt 




26 1S.5 


4.7 


Stopt 




27 07.5 


32.6 


32 33.5 


10.2 


61 


10 


40 


l'rhe*'tljefraomL"t^rre)t to''loo''' w^n'^aa and 300 1 






































16 






( elup[, .-itidsubseqaenU} to fi^ wh 




M«rcl. S 


35 44.5 


0.5 
0.5 


51 04.5 


20.1 
14.8 


10 09.2 
6 39.5 


.10 

29.3 


13 40 
12 42 


8.3 
2.8 






Stupt 








22 51 
17 37.5 


46 


31 
29 26 


13.4 


31 


2 


15.3 




















L1.4 






3 14 




12 22.5 




10 32.5 




49 .14 




41 43 


















Dead llgbtB replaced. 






















L 7.3(1 




































69 46.4 




12 12.5 




9 41 




49 15 




•35 38.2 








27 44 














23 


35 28.4 


1.4 


54 17.4 




56 07 




11 50.6 


3.1 


8 50 


7.3 


Stopt 




28 35 


60.4 


4 44.3 


42.2 


26 41 


9 


50 


21 


34 


404«op, eau«nnk,.o.aM.... 


III... 


April 6 
13 

20 
27 


.35 18.6 
35 08.8 
34 58.4 
34 48 
34 .17.5 


1.5 
1.5 


55 12 1 

56 02.8 
56 57.4 

58 10 

59 03.5 


7.26 
7.8 

7.64 


52 39.1 
49 03.8 
45 11.4 
41 25 
37 48.5 


30.7 
33.2 

30.9 


11 31.3 
11 15 
10 50.9 
10 16.5 
9 54 


2.3 
3.44 
4.9 


7 47.6 
6 27.3 
5 16 
3 56.3 
3 27.5 


11.5 

lo.r 

11.4 
4.1 







22 18.6 
16 45 
13 30 


48 
23 


.56 19 
50 .53 
47 12 
43 37.5 


35.4 
16.7 
46.6 
31.6 
30.7 


25 '49..5 
24 42 
22 07 
20 41 
19 17 


9.6 

12.3 
12 


50 
47 
48 
45 
48 


20 
23 
17 

23 


33 
34 

28 
35 


,2109 .topt it> being l..ke.. d..w 


,z,r-- 










■ 31.7 



















^^"1 CHRONOMETERS. 






, 








LE 


V. 












^me, 


at Winter Harbour, 


during the Twelve Weeks preceding the season of Navigation 


of 1820. 






PARKINSON AND FRODSHAM'S 


Temperature 


1S20 f^ 


No. 253 


No. 254 


No. 259 


No. 228 


Kale 


Fast 


Daily Kale 


Fast 


Daily Rate 


Fast 


Daily Rate 


Fast 


Daily Rate 


Maximum 


Itllmmum 


May 


h m s 


S 


A TO s 


S 


h m i 


S 


h m s 


S 






6 32 09 




7 8 58.5 








4 00 06 








2.1 




L 30.2 




L 4 








G 6.86 


47 


26 




28 37.6 




8 30.3 








00 54 








9^-* 




28.4 




2.23 








6.34 


53 


36 


2 


25 18.7 




8 14.7 




6 34 11.7 




1 38.2 








9r^ 




25.7 




0.7 




Go. 82 




5 


56 


42 




22 18 . 




8 10 




34 17.4 




2 13.4 








June .' 




25 




3.3 




1.42 




4.7 


59 


45 


19 24.4 




7 46.4 




34 27.3 




2 46.55 








!;■ ■ 




29.3 




1.16 




1.41 




6.8 


53 


43 


15 58.9 




7 38.6 




34 54.4 




3 34 








.-. 




28.3 




3.2 




1.415 




5.3 


53 


41 


l! 


13 40.8 




7 16.3 




35 04.3 




4 11 








o?-'^ 




27.7 




2.2 




0.857 




5.1 


57 


41 




9 27 




7 01 




35 10.34 




4 47 








July t' 




27.1 




1.4 




1.21 




5.8 


58 


46 


6 17.6 




6 51.3 




35 18.8 




5 28.5 








1.86 




27.6 




1 




1.51 




5.8 


57 


49 


1( 


3 04 




6 44.3 




35 29.3 




6 09.3 








v'-^ 




26.6 




0.66 




1.344 




6.6 


58 


48 




5 59 58.25 




6 39.7 




35 38.75 




6 55.7 








J.7 




27.6 




1.8 




1.08 




5.2 


55 


48 




56 45.5 




6 27 




35 46.3 




7 32 








»,'•'' 




28 




2.1 




1.414 




5.8 


54 


48 


31 


53 30.1 




6 11.9 




35 56.3 




8 13 








Average 
daily Rates 42 


Losing 27.62 


Losing 1.98 


Gaining 1.25 


Gaining 5.775 







^ much in use as a pocket watch it was not regularly compared. No. 2109 was worn by Captain 
"^'''e. Nos. 367, 377, and 497, were the Griper's establishment, and were returned to her on the 
■^^^Uervatory. 



GOING OP THE CHRONOMETERS. 







Oi 


!0 


to 


00 


05 


SQ 


to 
CO 


N 


to 
CO 


00 

to 


CO 


CO 
O) 


CJ 


^ 


to 

CO 


to 










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00 CO 


(N 


CO 


CO 


(N 


,-« 


(N 


(N 


eo 


■* 


■* 


CJ 


CO 


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■* 




o 


^ 


CM 


i>) 


" 


■^ 


'" 


^ 


^ 


'^ 


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" 


" 


■^ 


'^ 


'^ 


" 


■^ 




'*' 


■* 


<N 


OJ 


00 


(N 


to 
to 


o 




(N 

CO 


CO 


00 

Cl 


to 


to 


Ol 

03 


to 




00 

o 

1 

bo 

° 1 

O I- 


§ 
1— < 
CM 


CM 


►J 


Ol 


CO 


i> 


to 


N 




01 


01 


z 


o 


Ol 


o 


o 


CO 




CO 
(M 


CO 

M to 


to 


CO 

to 


to 


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i> 

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03 


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to 




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CO 

o 


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to 

o 


Ol 


to 
CO 


g 


^ 


"3 


CO 


to 


CJ 

o 






GQ 
CM 




CO 


2 


IN 


to 


to 


bj 


to 


N 


CO 


CO 


N 


& 


s 


00 


l. 




Ci 

o 


o 


to 


CO 


CO 


M 


to 

CO 


N 


to 
CO 


CO 

to 


CO 


CO 

IN 


?; 


rt 


to 

CO 


to 








» M 


(N 


CO 


CO 


(N 


^ 


(N 


IN 


CO 


•* 


■* 


CJ 


01 


•* 


■* 






^ 






CM 





ts 
CO 


Ol 


»o 


to 




N 

5<i 


2 


to 

CO 


to 

Cl 

t^5 


"3 

cj' 


cj" 


CJ 
IN 




to 




CO 


CO 

o 


O 


to 


to 

CO 




CO 


N 


to 
CO 


00 
Cl 


CO 


to 

IN 


01 


CO 


01 


to 












o> 

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o 

(M 


IN 


CO 


01 


o 

CO 


Cl 


Cl 
IN 


Ol 
IN 


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o 

CO 


§ 











































00 


■* 


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CO 


X 


N 


Ol 
CO 


Ol 


to 

CO 


to 


CO 

to 


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"3 


i> 


03 

o 


■o 


CJ 




2 1 
S f 




(M 
CM 




to 


to 


t> 


CO 


•^ 


^ 


^ 


M 


•* 


■* 


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CO 


03 






o 


5 


s 




00 


UJ 


to 




so 


CO 


-*• 

CJ 


CO 

Ol 


to 


to 


Ol 

03 


to 


i. 


Q o 

a § 
s ^ 

o o 


^ 

'i 

^ 
S 


OT 


" 05 


Ol 


X 


i> 


to 


s 




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o> 


^ 


o 


Ol 


o 


o 


00 


t 


C5 
CM 


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1-1 


O) 

CO 

CO 


to 

C5 


»o 

"O 


to 


CO 


N 
CN 


CO 


■4 


to 

CJl 

<n' 


to 
(N 

C3 


N 

CO 


03 


N 

T? 
•* 


CO 




CO 


CI 


CO 

to 


to 

to 


CO 




to 






N 

»o 


1> 


o 


IN 


OJ 


03 


to 




S 




10 




•*• 


CO 
0< 


CO 


to 


to 


to 


to 
(N 


l^f 


CN 


"O 
IN 


"3 
IN 


IN 


j 


00 


«: 


CO 


^ 


«3 


at 

00 


•o 


to 
o 


"3 


o 


Ol 


Cl 


en 


to 


IN 
IN 


OJ 




■* "3 

, a 




CM 
(M 


•^ oJ 


0> 


^ 


CO 


o 


CO 


s 


N 


CO 


" 


N 


N 


to 


CO 


Ol 




CO 


s 


CO 
CO «5 


to 


CO 

t 
to 


»o 
to 


0) 


Ol 
"O 


CO 


N 


■o 
(N 

N 


CO 

■o' 


CJ 

q 

"O 


CJ 
«3 

to 


■o* 


q 
to 


CO 


i 




CO 

o 
n 


q 
t:i 


to 
oi 


to 

CO_ 
CI 
CM 


Ol 


CO 
N 


QO 
CN 


to 
CO 
ci 


CJ 
Ol 

d 

CJ 


OJ 

ci 


to 

IN 

oi 
IN 


01 

oi 

(M 


CD 
IM 
IN 


Ol 

6 

00 


d 

CJ 

to 




•* 


CO 


CO 

to 


■o 
to 


CO 




to 




CN 


N 

>o 


^ 


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IN 


S; 


CO 




to CJ 
00 C^ 




CM 


CO in 


(N 






CO 


CO 

(J) 


to 


(>! 


to 

0< 


IQ 


to 
IN 


to 

IN 


•o 

IN 


'0 
3J 


IN 


i 




00 




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Ol 
CO 


CI 


to 

o 


Ol 


to 


to 

CO 


00 


o 


C3 


to 


OJ 

o 


-i 


Si QC 




CM 


K >0 

C3 


>o 

CO 


»o 

CO 


N 

CO 


9* 

CO 


CO 


C3 
CO 


CO 

CO 


CJ 


OJ 


CJ 
CO 


CJ 


(N 

00 


•>* 

CJ 


OJ 






C5 

o 




31 
CI 


CO 


CO 

o 


^ 


»o 


to 
o 


Ol 


to 

CJ 


C3 




>o 


03 


to 


CO 

o 






O t; 

a < 

'o 
be 


^ 


t/> OS 

'J 


CO 


2 


»! 


2 


to 


N 


2 


N 


CO 


CO 


N 


~C3" 

o 


QO 
"^uj 


CO 
OJ 




C^i 


-*■ 


CO 


X 


K 


Ol 
CO 


CI 
00 


to 

CO 


to 


CO 

to 


CJ 


■o 


N 




■1 


CO 


CM 


"> ..-5 

a 


to 


to 


N 


CO 


■* 


•* 


■* 


93 


■* 


■* 


■* 


■* 


00 


00 




-Jh 


o 


■c 


•* 


'O 
IN 


Ol 
CO 


CI 

•o 


to 
o 


UO 


c 


Cl 

03 


Ol 


J3 


•* 


IN 

IN 


00 

-f 




J AN ACCOUNT 


CN 


■^ ci 


CI 


~ 


CO 


01 


CO 


N 


N 


CO 


N 


N 


N 


to 


CO 


Ol . 




CO 


-0 


■■5 




■o 


Ol 


CI 


c 


N 

Cl 


■o 


CO 


XI 


o 


03 

CO 


to 


OJ 






CM 


W3 


>o 

CO 


'O 

CO 


CO 


CO 


CO 


CO 
CO 


CO 
=0 


CJ 


CJ 


CJ 

OJ 


C3 


IN 

-3 


« 


•5 








C 


































hJD 

C 

a 


bJo 

<: 


■*• 


s 


CO 




-" 


CO 


(N 


tN 

o 


Cl 


•" 


C3 

»1 


o 

CO 


cc 

> 

c 

2; 


03 





GOING OF THE CHRONOMETERS. 



TABLE VII. 



A STATEMENT of the Daily Rates of the under-mentioned CHRONOMETERS in London, | 








since their return from the Expedition. 




1820 


ARNOLD'S 


PARKINSON and FRODSHAM'S 


367 


377 


497 


2109 


25 


228 


253 


254 


259 




s 


s 


s 


s 


s 


s 


s 


s 


s 


Dec. 3 










. . 


G7 


L 29 


L 3 


G3.5 


4 








a 


n .- 


5.5 


28.5 


3 


3 


5 
6 












6.5 
6 


27.5 
27 


3 
1.5 


3 
1.5 






7 












6.5 


26 


2 


2.5 


8 












5.5 


27.5 


2 


2.5 


9 


L7 


L6 


G6 


Lll 


G 12 


6 


27.5 


2 


2 


10 


9.5 


6 


8 


12 


14 


6 


27 


3 


1.5 


11 


8.5 


5 


9.3 


11 


14.7 


6 


27 


2 


2 


12 


8.5 


5 


7 


11 


12.5 


6 


26 


2 


1.5 


13 


9 


4 


8 


12 


14.5 


5.5 


27 


2.5 


1.5 


14 


8 


4 


8 


11 


13 


6 


28 


3.5 


1.5 


15 


9.5 


6 


7 


12 


14 


6.5 


28 


4 


2.5 


16 


9.5 


6.5 




12 


13 


7 


28 


3.5 


3 


17 
18 












6.5 
6 


29 
29 


3.5 
3 


2.5 
2.5 






















Mean 


L 8.7 


L 5.3 


G7.6 


L 11.5 


G 13.5 


G6.2 


L 27.6 


L 2.7 


G2.28 



APPENDIX II. 



LUNAR OBSERVATIONS. 



^:vb 



LUNAR OBSERVATIONS. XXiil 



No II. 



LUNAR OBSERVATIONS. 



The lunar observations comprised in this Abstract, are those by which the 
chronometers selected for the determination of longitude were regulated. 

The method, by which their results were applied from time to time to this 
purpose, is explained in the notes and memorandums annexed to the dates to 
which they respectively belong. 

The observations were made by Captain Parry, and Lieutenant Beechey, 
Messrs. Hooper and Ross, and Captain Sabine ; who are severally referred 
to by their initials in the column denoting the observer. 

The instruments used in observing the distances were generally sextants, 
and occasionally reflecting circles ; when sextants were employed, their index 
error was always carefully ascertained at the time of observation ; the dis- 
tances observed with circles are distinguished by asterisks, and those with 
sextants are corrected for the index error. 

The apparent altitudes of the objects were usually obtained by proportion 
from observations at the commencement and close of each set of distances ; 
when circumstances did not permit the observation, they have been calculated. 

The distances of the four first-mentioned observers have been cleared 
from the effects of parallax and refraction by Dr. Maskelyne's rule, published 
in the preface to Taylor's Logarithms, using the table of mean refraction of 
Mendoza Rios corrected for variations in temperature and atmospherical 
pressure. The true distances of Captain Sabine have been computed some- 
times by the same method, but oftener by the Cambridge Parallactic Tables. 



XXIV 



APPENDIX. 



In ascertaining the apparent time at Greenwich corresponding to the true 
distances, the first term of the proportion, being usually the diiFerence 
between the next greater and the next less distance in the Nautical 
Almanac, has been corrected when necessary, by the method of second 
differences, to the actual change in the moon's distance from the sun or star 
in the interval of three hours, of which the middle point is intermediate 
between the time of the observation, and that of the computed distance in the 
Almanac, to which the portion of time sought is to be applied. 



Note. — The dates throughout this abstract are according to the astro- 
nomical method of reckoning; the times by watch, and the apparent 
Greenwich times, being carried on beyond twenty-four hours when necessary 
in longitudes west of Greenwich. 



LUNAR OBSERVATIONS. 





^^ 






B 












1 












i 




1 








(N ^ 






= s 


E 


" 


r 


s = ^ 2 




J 




S fl 








^ -Si, 




b 












a o 






A 








(M _0 




=1 




CO 


«5 


en 


CO 

CO 


•<* 


to 

CO 


§ J 




g s 






O 


5 


o 

CO 


z 


o 

CM 






■^o 




» 












^ 1 




o 






N 






CO ' ; d rt 




- — 




O) 


IN 


!0 


N 


>o . o o 




c " 






!M 


•* 




o • *^ . 
















-C 05 






S 


1/5 


«3 


CO 


«5 








_^ 


(N 


CO 


CO 


CO 


'*' ^ 2 5 




O 


"^ 








































«. ^ ^ 








(M 


to 


lO 


o 






1 


^ 


O 


(N 


(N 




^ 1 1 












N 


■* 


o> -^ S 








o 


"O 


■* 


CO 


— 3 


erf 


D 












Ji — 




H 


o 


o 


CO 


CO 


CO 


CO .a <u 


00 

< 


N 


N 


N 


8> 


i> 


1^ 


S E S 


o 


(N 


CO 


•^ 


<* 


05 




'" i " 


■* 


■* 


■* 


•* 


"^ ^ « 


4 S 


jj 




05 


CO 


CO 

o> 




< 


n 1 


•^l 


(N 


!N 


!M 


w 


(N 


s ^ 


"o ' c 














^ m 1 


xn 


° -° '5 




O 


CO 


N 


N 


'S ^ 1 


O 


ZO " 














^ b 
















< 


Is 

o 




eu 


P5 


m 


M 


^1 


> 














W tU 


w 

in 




oT 




N 


N 


CD 


o 


N ? " S 




? s 


' 


M 


'S' 


CO 


O 


"^ S S a5 


oa 


u 


"1 




O 


0» 


•"^ 


to 


CO S o S 


O 


2 


.«' >. 


* 


^ 


■* 


■* 


-" 


Pi 

t 
1=> 




1° 


° 


7J 


CO 


(N 


CO 
(N 


(M 

CO 


ence 

ted 

hron 


£ 




to 










.S = " 


o 


1.0 


O 


o « S .>S 1 


i-j 


2 


a 


* 


■* 


>o 


•* 




^ -O !- CO 1 




; 


s 




«3 


(N 


CO 


m 


1 23 

iginal 
than 
of the 




•5 


g 


o 


LI 


«5 


W5 


©I 

CO 






E 




^ 


"^ 


" 


'* 


S »J c 












»o 




T3 .§ S 










in 


i> 


CO 


N tS ~ 




o ;, 




■* 


o 


■f 


>o 


(N _. -C CU 




s = s 




M 


N 


CO 


CO 


79 02 

for rate 
reenwic 
St of th 




0;S 


o 


CO 

o 


(N 


<N 

0) 


o> 






N 


N 


N 


i> 
















Qj rh a' 








o> 


<N 


"5 


N 


rt y w J^ 




s 




CO 


ci 


ifj 










"5 


'^ 


O 


^ 


>o S — lO 




.£ 


s 


O 


IN 


o> 


to 


CO ^ ^ .. 






"5 






'J' 


•^ q o 




s 


^ 


(N 


CO 


M 


CO 


■* 


•5 " g 






U3 


- 


E 


E 


s 


'^ .S <M 
















^ i>» 
















2 >, 








3 








a ^ 








■-s 











APPENDIX. 



CO i-i iO (N CO "5 (N 

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qCO «5 to to CO to to to 



"3 CO 00 03 IN 



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(NW30303U3oS«0«3i-i'Jiw:03WtJi«3 

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OOQ(N03(N(N(N(Ne*e00303'<f'Tji«3«3 

■^^•^•^iOW3W3W3U3iOV3U3W3W3W3»0 



VS 03 0} 



(NCT(N(N(N<N(N(?3(?) 



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to to to to to 



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to 


to 


to 


to 


to 


to 




2 


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°^ 


SO 


M 


CO 


CO 


CO 


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CO 


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ro 


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o 


X 


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X 


to 


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to 


to 


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^ 


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05 


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05 


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05 




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GO 


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cn 


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to 


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3 

























































XXX 



APPENDIX. 





g 


1 


















































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3 


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to «5 


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3 





















































LtfNAR OBSERVATIONS. 



X3CX1 



GO ^ W *0 



CO 3>( o 



■* — 03 (M 



(N(N<NO^!NMlN<NM(NSQNOQ(N'>f<M(N 



"3 CO O "5 U5 lO 



G*J CO «3 •^ «3 (>} 



W 0^ (N ?3 CO O) 



00 CO CO 



CO Ol ©.» CO 



(>j to CO 0} 



(N <?J 03 CO »0 to 
'T- ■»}" ^ W3 »0 *0 



<0«0^0!OtO!0<0 



to !0 to <S 



-< rt -H CO 



— CO Ol 03 'f 
>0 -< iji lO (N 



X CO «3 «3 "3 



it3«3^W3»OtO*0«3 



03 rt SM CO — O 

Ci CO W3 ^O »-0 CO 



(OtO to^W3W3W3W3W3W3«30»0*0 
>OiO^'3«3W3U3»0"3*0'0^»'3"3W3 



U3 «3 O 



>0 
03 


03 


03 


X3 

03 


03 


OS 
03 


«3 

03 


03' 


03 


N 

CO 


N 

03 


I> 

03 


03 


03 


N 

03 


CO 

03 


03 


to 

oi 

IN 


to 


to 


to 


oi 


to 

ci 


to 
oi 


to 

ci 


to 


to 
oi 


to_ 
oi 


to 
ci 


to 
ci 


to 
oi 


to 

O) 


to 
oi 


CO 

oi 


01 


a 


o 


01 


o> 


O 


O 


01 





N 


■o 


CO 


to 


CO 


01 


N 


(> 


3h 


;» 


efi 


Ph 


t» 


A 


hL, 


CC 


p; 


a 


£« 


n 


M 


M 


IB 


a 


M 



— 4C003W3C003^O 



to LO CO 



>0 »0 U3 



J> « 01 



eo 03 eo -^ 



»je3COO3C0C0O3O3"c0(N<N 



IN <N O QO CO CO 
CO 03 C^( "3 U3 (N 



^ ^ CO 01 01 



(N (N (N O) 



O) o> 01 01 o 
l^> (N (M IN i» 



to to «3 



03 CO -H »« Tji 



U3 «3 «3 CO rt « 



-- rt O 



00030303030303030303030303030303 7! 



i-c fh U3 <N IM 



« -. O 



»0 01 OJ ^ 



(O F- — I 



U3 CO -" 03 CO <N CO 



0> N N to (N -" — 

03 CO 03 CO CO CO 03 



C« <M (>) (N 



W3 O O ^0 "O "O ^ W3 W3 t-O »0 »0 U3 t-O *-0 ^O 
W3*0»O*t3*0*O*0^^w3'O*O»Oc0«3«3 



(>> O K 



(XC0C0C3FHr^-^C0<>**O 



OI to O O F^ 



eOcOC0030303^'* 
totototototototo 



to N — < to to 



M3 >0 "3 



XXXll APPENDIX, 

'B'nifi Momorandum annexed to the Lunar Observations of June and August.